Seniors, Use an Elevated Leg Rest and Put Your Legs Up!
Caregivers spend a lot of time on their feet. The work to be done just seems to keep you standing and moving until late in the day. Caregivers need to be taking care of themselves too, however. One way to do that is to rest awhile with an elevated leg rest.
In most cases, elevating your legs will help the circulation in your legs and feet. When we are sitting or standing, gravity has a significant impact on blood flow through the veins in our legs. The veins must fight against gravity in order to get blood back to the heart.
Read about Shower Chair Use.
If your legs and feet are swollen after you have been standing or sitting for hours, then elevating your legs will help the tiny capillaries get rid of stagnant fluids which are not healthy. If you have varicose veins, elevating your legs regularly will be really beneficial.
Not for Everyone
Actually, there are some patients who should NOT elevate their legs. Patients who have moderate to severe Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) may become short of breath when lying flat. Also, patients with moderate to severe Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) will have pain in their feet when they elevate their legs because the arterial blood has to go against gravity.
Those patients should avoid leg elevation.
For the rest of us, an elevated leg rest is often recommended by physicians.
So, but how much should you elevate, and how often?
Health professionals recommend that the legs need to be elevated above the level of the heart. Your legs should be about 8 to 12 inches above the heart. Bend your knee. The knee should be bent only 20- 30 degrees. Tilting the thigh more than 45 degrees is uncomfortable, and that position bends the femoral vein which impairs blood flow.
Elevate your legs for a period of about 15 to 20 minutes. If possible, it is good to do this more than once a day if you have swollen legs. Do this after a long period of standing, after exercise, before bed, and whenever your feet and legs are tired or swollen.
Elevated Leg Rest Cushion
Use an elevated leg rest cushion or a wedge Cushion from Caregiver.Aid.com. which you can find in the Personal Care department. Having a cushion just the right height ready for you on the couch or bed will make getting into the habit of elevating your legs easier and convenient.
So, caregivers, sit down and take a load off. Put your legs up every day, and you’ll be ready to hit the floor running when you are needed again.
You can learn more about leg swelling at the Mayo Clinic.