How to Support a Loved One with a Disability

It’s not easy supporting a loved one with a disability. Sometimes the responsibilities can be challenging. However, there are some ways to make it easier. This article will discuss how to provide emotional and physical support to your loved one who has a disability.

It is important first to understand the extent of their needs and limitations. It can be easy for family members who want to help but don’t know how or who are simply too busy to get overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need completing on behalf of their loved one. The key thing is not to do everything yourself; you should instead seek out resources and assistance from others. Things like live-in care can significantly reduce your burden. 

The following are some general guidelines for supporting loved ones with disabilities.

Understand Their Needs

Just because your loved one has a disability doesn’t mean that they can’t decide what they need and when they need it. The most important thing you can do is ask them what kind of support they require, and if they require any help at all. Sometimes independence is the greatest gift you can give to your loved one. 

Set a Schedule and Stick to It

Scheduling helps you know what is expected of you at all times. This also helps you know when you are finished with everything, and it’s time to relax. When you take care of another person, it is essential not to let it become the only thing you do in your life. Of course, sometimes your loved one needs your full attention, and if you decide to take care of them full time, it might be hard to find time for yourself. However, scheduling might help find half an hour now and then to focus on your needs.

Don’t Take On Too Much

This is one of the biggest mistakes that family members make. Overburdening yourself will only lead to stress, exhaustion and resentment. Instead, ask for help from others and try to delegate tasks to other family members who want to help.

Be Aware of the Challenges They Face

There are many challenges that people with disabilities face. The most important thing is to remember that they are people too. They want to maintain their independence and self-esteem, just like anyone else. In other words, people with disabilities want the same things everyone else wants – love and respect. It’s up to family members and friends to help make that happen.

Ask your family members what is challenging for them and what you can do to help. Maybe you need to buy new light bulbs to help with your loved one’s super sensory sensitivities or extra handles installed in the bathroom to give them more independence when moving around the house. 

There are many shades of disability and people, and each one of them has unique needs, so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s probably the best thing you can do because your loved ones are capable of making decisions for themselves most of the time.

Get Professional Help When Necessary

Sometimes, family members will need to get outside help with things like weddings, funerals and personal care. This comes with an increased price tag but it is highly recommended because it will free up your time so that you can do other things that aren’t covered by insurance or by others who want to help but can’t afford to pay for things like medical bills, etc. You can also ask your loved one if they want you to get involved in other tasks that they are too overwhelmed by or simply don’t feel comfortable doing on their own.

Don’t Feel Sorry For Them

There’s no need for you to feel sorry for someone who has a disability. Your loved one will be fine, especially if you do your best in helping them maintain their independence and self-esteem. Remember that you are helping them maintain their self-worth in order to keep them from feeling like a burden or a charity case. Keep this in mind as you help them and don’t let your loved one see you as their savior or someone who feels sorry for them simply because they have a disability. If anything, they will want you to be proud of them because they are learning how to do things on their own and are becoming more self-sufficient as a result.

The Bottom Line: Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out to the Community!

Try to learn about the resources offered in your community. In many cases, these resources will be free or partially free and will allow you to get some of the tasks done that your loved one requires. Examples of some of these resources include home care assistance, transportation services, counseling services, and other free programs. These resources can be helpful to you in completing some of the tasks required by your loved one.

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