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Our Caregiver's e-Mall is filling up with great stores and a growing number of items just in time for the holidays. Whether you browse and find a book or tape to help you with caregiving, or come across a wonderful gift for a friend or family member, the e-Mall can be your source for easy shopping and gift-giving.

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posted: April 7, 2009

Timely Tips

Timely Tip: Help in Preventing Painful 'Bed Sores'

 We tend to think of pressure ulcers – or so-called “bed sores” – as happening to someone who is confined to bed. These ugly, painful and difficult-to-heal ulcers can happen to anyone who doesn't change position regularly, even if they are up during the day. 

In fact, those especially prone to pressure ulcers usually spend a lot of time in recliners or wheelchairs. As a caregiver, keep in mind that even small adjustments through the day will relieve pressure and permit better skin circulation for your loved one. 

If your loved one can't or won't stand, it can be difficult to get someone to redistribute their weight while they are sitting. Moving the body from the waist up is rarely successful in also moving the buttocks and lower spine, which is where so many pressure sores start. 

Changing the amount of recline on a recliner chair rarely eliminates pressure on the coccyx (tailbone), so you will still want your elder to shift their weight from side to side. 

Try putting a narrow folded sheet crosswise under your elder so the ends protrude on each side. Lift their weight slightly and pull this draw sheet a little to the left or right, to redistribute the body weight slightly from one side to the other. 

Two hours later, move the draw sheet and your loved one’s body the other way. It may take two people to do this successfully and safely, if your elder can't lift their own weight without help. 

Making sure your elder redistributes their weight regularly throughout the day, as this is the most important thing you can do to help prevent pressure sores from developing. 

-- By Molly Shomer
Head Coach
The Eldercare Team

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