If you’re a family member caring for a loved one with a disability, whether they’re children or adults, addressing their personal, healthcare, and daily needs can be challenging. However, it is doable, and with the proper planning and commitment, you’ll be helping everyone stay healthy and alive.
Here are tips to help you care for a disabled family member, ensuring their health and yours.
Do Your Research
Researching about your loved one’s condition can help you understand them more. This way, you see the best possible ways to take good care of them. By having the right information beforehand, you’ll be able to have a more efficient plan for them and help your family adjust. This will allow you to avoid some bumps in the road and offer overall better care. After all, different disabilities present varying challenges.
In addition, it would help to make the most of every insurance coverage your loved one has applied for. For instance, if your loved one is a dentist, and they got into an accident on their way to work, it would be best to know if they have true own specialty disability insurance. This kind of insurance helps professionals get a tax-free replacement of their income in case they suffer from sickness or injury that prevents them from working properly. Now that’s one financial burden off your shoulders.
Without asking, many family members and friends would offer support to a loved one with a disability. In most cases, they’re willing to help—in other ways than financial. Determine if there are tasks they can help you out with, whether it’s doing the laundry or watching over the kids in the morning so you can focus on other tasks.
If you’re hesitant to work with your family and friends, joining a local or online support group is a great alternative. They’ll provide you the chance to share information and connect with those going through similar experiences, plus they offer services, recreation, and information for disabled individuals.
Make the Home Safer
Make your loved one’s living area safe and accessible. Your family member’s doctor may recommend particular ways to make their space more convenient to use. Whether it’s widening doorways or installing ramps for easier wheelchair access, it’s wise to have them implemented straight away. Besides these home modifications, ensure that your loved one has everything they need, including dinnerware or kitchenware that’s safe and easy to reach and use.
Never Make Assumptions
Just because your loved one has a disability, it doesn’t mean they’ll need assistance at all times, depending on their condition. It’s safe never to assume that a disabled person requires help. Instead, it’s best to offer your support and wait for a response.
When they accept your offer for assistance, wait for their instructions or ask them directly how you can help them. Regardless of their decision, make sure to respect their answer.
Know Your Strengths
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so remember that it’s all right not to get everything right the first time. It’s best to grant yourself a bit of grace and focus on how you can best help and support your disabled loved one. Doing this allows you to become the best assistance for your family member.
Whether it’s helping them with speech therapy or coming up with fun activities to improve motor skills, be honest about them and throw yourself into them. Meanwhile, it’s better to get a bit of help from your support system regarding your weaknesses. Try to fill in your weak spots with alternative strategies, services, or supplemental caregivers.
Take small steps to strengthen yourself in areas that need improvement, and never hesitate to ask for outside help. After all, you’re caring for a loved one.
Be Patient And Positive
When caring for a disabled family member, you should be well aware that handling individuals with a disability require patience—and a lot of it. Never expect them to be able to do the things you want the “right” way straight away. It’s best to give them some time to learn and help them along the way.
Besides being patient, you need to be positive when dealing with disabled family members. Seeing you optimistic will help your loved one feel more motivated to push through the hardships and live happily. However, never show that you feel sorry for them.
It’s natural for people to feel sorry for disabled individuals. However, how you express your sympathy is crucial. That’s because most individuals with a disability don’t like people feeling sorry for them since they view the gesture as pity, contributing to them feeling powerless. So, show your concern and love—but never express that you feel sorry.
The caregiving tips mentioned can help you and your family stay healthy and positive while ensuring that you’re providing the best care for a disabled family member. Keep these in mind to address issues and keep everyone thriving—and alive.