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Helping someone to stand and walk

Keeping mobile can help your relative or friend feel better emotionally and physically. Please ask a nurse to show you these movements before carrying them out yourself.

Only try to move your relative or friend if they’re able to stand easily. If they find it difficult to stand they shouldn’t be moved. You can risk injuring yourself or the person you’re helping if you try to bear all or even most of their weight.

To help your relative or friend stand up and walk, follow these steps:

  1. Clear the floor of any obstacles, like books, shoes and bags.
  2. Ask your relative or friend if they’re ready to stand up.
  3. With your relative or friend lying on their side, ask them to drop the lower part of their legs over the side of the bed.
  4. Have them gently push themselves into the sitting position.
  5. Sit down on the bed next to them. Make sure you’re both wearing light footwear that has a good grip on the floor.
  6. Take the nearest hand of your relative or friend, and hold it so that their palm rests on your fist. This is so that fingers and thumbs can’t be interlocked, which could cause injury to you or to your relative or friend.
  7. Place your other arm around their waist.
  8. Both of you should place one foot slightly in front of the other.
  9. Agree on wording to prepare your relative or friend to stand up, like “ready, steady, stand”. Make sure you both know to move on the third word. It’s helpful to rock forward as you say “ready” and “steady” to make it easier to stand.
  10. They can help themselves to stand by pushing against the bed with their other hand.
  11. Use small steps to gently help them walk.
  12. If you’re helping them walk to a chair, once they feel the back of their chair against their legs they can lower themselves into a sitting position.

External websites

Carers UK   – carer-to-carer support

NHS Choices   – carer tips

This page is for general information only. It's not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it's used.

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