This puts additional responsibility on the shoulders of their caregivers -the responsibility of rehabilitating the mental and emotional wellbeing of their disabled loved ones.
If you are taking care of a disabled family member or friend, take into account their physical, mental, and emotional needs. The following tips might help you.
- Research well
Different kinds of disabilities have different requirements. Physical, cognitive and mental disabilities, including hearing & visual impairment, Alzheimer’s diseases, Dementia, ambulation or balance problems, Parkinson’s disease, mental health problems, and physical disabilities, all require different approaches.
To ensure that you offer the best possible care to your disabled loved one, understand their condition, challenges, and capabilities. Research well on the Internet and talk to their doctor about their condition to gather as much information as possible. You will be an efficient caregiver only if you know the special needs of your loved one.
- Encourage and empower them
As already mentioned, living with a physical or cognitive disability hampers the wellbeing of a person on many levels. Being a caregiver, consider it your duty to extend maximum emotional support to your disabled loved ones as they often slip into a gloomy state subjugated by self-consciousness and self-doubt.
Foster a positive outlook in them. Shift their focus from what they can’t do to what they CAN do, and teach them to be independent. Encourage them to socialize and be vocal about their true feelings, needs, and desires.
This approach will change their perspective towards their condition for better.
- Seek support
Being a caregiver to a disabled individual is physically and emotionally demanding. It is not uncommon to hear of caregivers succumbing to caregiver burnout.
Don’t hesitate to seek help. Reach out to your friends and family members for support. Be a part of online or local support groups.
Networking with people who have been in similar situations will benefit both the ends of the spectrum. Where it will safeguard your sanity and wellbeing throughout your stint as a caregiver, learning about their experiences and gaining knowledge from them will help you to be a better caregiver.
Furthermore, for financial support, you can rely on the various state-run financial assistance programs; you can even get paid to take care of a family member with a disability.
- Prepare for emergency situations
Emergency situations can crop up anytime. Fire breakouts, medical emergencies, acts of terrorism, natural calamities, and other such disasters can hit like a thunderbolt demanding a quick response.
Being a caregiver, it is your responsibility to prepare yourself and your disabled loved one for such emergency conditions.
Create a support network comprising people you trust, who can be called for assistance during emergency events. Give each member a key to your home so that they can reach out to your loved one when you are not with them.
- Home improvement
Home modification is one of the most important, but overlooked aspects of taking care of a disabled person. With little home maintenance and modifications, you can encourage your loved ones to be more self-assured and independent without exposing them to certain dangers.
Little modifications like installing handrails, grab bars, and ramps, raised toilet seats, wheelchair-accessible walk-in showers, consistent flooring, etc, you can create a safe living environment for disabled individuals.
The bottom line
Taking care of a disabled loved one is a 24-hour job filled with responsibilities and physical and mental stress. While it may not turn around the hardships, the above tips will certainly help in making your journey of care and support easier.
Updated: October 28, 2020