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Alzheimer's & Dementia
About Dementia
Agitated Behavior
- Activities
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Clutter & Hoarding
Falls & Mobility
- Things to Do
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Late Stage
- Memory Aids
- Mid-Late Stage
- Body Ergonomics
- 10 Golden Rules
- What Not to Do
- Lifts

You, the caregiver, are just as important as the patient because if anything happens to you, everyone's in trouble. Avoid injury by following the Golden Rules. And keep in mind that it's therapeutic for the person to help as much as possible because it helps the person maintain muscle strength and mobility.

helping a person with dementia transfer

What's Your Unique Situation?

Helping a person get in and out of a bed or chair is one of the most difficult tasks a caregiver faces. The best transfer technique depends upon the care receiver's abilities, your abilities, and the living environment. Here are some important questions to consider before helping a person with dementia transfer.

Care Receiver

Can the person help if you use simple instructions? It's better for the person, for it helps maintain muscle strength. Sometimes the person still has the physical ability but, due to the dementia, needs simple instructions and guidance.

Does the person have the ability to bear weight in at least one leg and stand?

Does the person have good upper body strength and ability to sit upright?

Is the person cooperative all the time or at specific times of the day? If the person refuses to budge, place your cursor here.

How much does the person weigh? A heavy person may need two persons or a lift to get out of bed.

Does the person have pain? If so, is there a position that's the best?

Is the person's skin thin and frail? If so, this will also effect how you place your hands to help and the type of transfer that you do. You'll need to move gently and slowly, as older adults bruise easily and their skin tears easily.

Does the older person have special circumstances that may affect transfer tasks, such as abdominal wounds, knee or hip replacement, or one-sided weakness from a stroke? If so, you need to seek advice from your doctor.

Is the person dead weight and not able to help with transferring? If so, you need a lift.

Do you know most insurance policies cover a home visit consultation if the person qualifies? For example, physical therapists and occupational therapists can offer specific transfer techniques, strengthening exercises, and the right equipment tailored to your care receiver. And you can get hands-on training for your unique situation. Ask your doctor for a referral, as a prescription is usually necessary.


What is your strength? Are you putting yourself at risk? You can easily injure your back when trying to lift the person. And falls can happen to both you and your care receiver during transferring.

Have you learned Good Body Mechanics and the Golden Rules of Transferring to help keep yourself safe?

Are you helping the person use their remaining strength so you don't have to lift him or her?

Do you need special transfer devices or another caregiver to help? Most back injuries happen slowly over time, and you could be putting yourself at risk without knowing it.

Living Environment

Is there adequate room to transfer your care recipient safely? Do you need to remove clutter, carpets, or furniture?

Do you have the right equipment and know how to use it? Medicare and other insurances often will pay for helpful transfer devices and hospital beds if your care receiver meets special qualifications. Check with your health care provider.


Coaching a Person

Caregiver Injuries

Body Mechanics Demo

Sitting Up in Bed

Bed to Wheelchair

Using a Hoyer Lift

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