Carers Program
Carers Program

Watch Your Back!

Carers have poorer health than most Australians and are often at risk of hurting themselves, particularly their backs, due to demands of their caring role such as lifting and carrying. By following some simple rules when doing everyday tasks or when helping someone else to move, the risk of injury can be reduced:

  • Maintain a good posture at all times;
  • Don't lift, unless you have to;
  • Make sure your environment is not cluttered and it is safe  for you to carry out lifting and moving;
  • Try and keep your back and core muscles fit and toned to prevent problems occurring;
  • Don't rush moving and lifting, take your time;
  • If help is available, ask for it;
  • When lifting, try following these simple guidelines:
    • Plan your lift or transfer - Make sure objects are out of the way;
    • Lift with the weight as close to your body as possible;
    • Use your legs to do the work, bend at the knees, do not bend your back
    • Tighten your stomach muscles without holding your breath – this gives your back extra support
    • Avoid lifting above your head or below your knees

When you are caring for someone who needs help with moving, such as a child with a physical disability or an elderly parent, it's important to think about the future.  Caring for your back and obtaining ideas for moving and lifting from Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy staff is recommended. They can also find equipment to assist you in the home. See Important Links for information from the Sydney Children's Hospital on back care for parents which may also be helpful for your situation.

In 2007 ENABLE was established as a NSW service to provide equipment support for people with a disability. Enable provides cost effective, clinically appropriate items to help. Examples are manual wheelchairs, mobile shower commodes, hoists, continence and nutrition products and speech generating devices. Eligibility criteria for each category of equipment apply. See Important Links for more information:

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