With the current aging population of our world, it is becoming more common to have a senior loved one with a disability. As they get older and start to curtail their daily activities, it becomes increasingly important for family members and close friends to be there to support them in yet another way.
As a caregiver, you can help. The need to provide support after a loved one has been diagnosed with a disability is great, and how you can do this are endless.
These ways can range from the relatively simple, like helping with medication management and other daily tasks, to the more involved, such as helping them navigate through their daily life. Here are the eight most important lifelong ways to support a senior with a disability:
This is perhaps the simplest way to help your senior loved one cope with their disability. At the most basic level, being available means having your phone on you at all times and being ready to answer any calls from them at any time of day or night.
This is because as a senior with a disability, something as simple as an illness can take them down for weeks or months at a time. When this happens, they will likely call you frequently and ask for help.
Be sure to respond to these calls promptly, as it is the best way for a senior with a disability to feel better about their situation.
If your loved one is dependent on you for transportation around town, you are well aware of how difficult this can be.
They may have difficulty going out on their own, or they may not want to leave home at all. This can make things like doctor's appointments and grocery shopping difficult if they do not have someone like you by their side.
One way you can help alleviate this problem is to build up a small network of friends and family who are willing to take them in when you cannot be there for one reason or another.
Depending on the type of medication your loved one is on, you can help them manage their doses and return to the proper amounts over time.
Another way to assist with these tasks is by making sure someone is always around during their medication cycles to monitor their medications.
As a person who cares for them, you will see when they need more or less so that they do not run out or forget a dose. The only downside here is that it takes patience and dedication, but it is well worth the effort in the long run.
This can be difficult for many people who have a loved one with a disability, but it is not impossible.
Most people with disabilities can no longer prepare their meals or wash their clothes, so you need to become the go-to person for these types of tasks.
One way to start doing this is by making a list of what they like to eat and finding recipes online. Once you have a good feeling about the quality of their food and how long it takes them to get hungry again, you can start planning their meals for them.
When the time inevitably catches up to you, you need to trust others who can assist your loved ones with their daily tasks.
One way of doing this is by having a network of people who can help you out when your life gets too busy. This can include a neighbor, a close friend, or even local church members who are willing to pitch in.
There is something very soothing about sitting next to a person in pain and talking with them about anything and everything.
Another way to help someone with your patience is to simply listen. This means being sure to give them your full attention when they are telling you their story or asking you questions. It can also be helpful to make sure they are comfortable in their surroundings when they come over, especially if they need assistance in the bathroom or walking around the house.
Your loved one with a disability may have limited mobility and may need assistance with multiple tasks, but that does not mean that their home should not feel comfortable for them.
The environment you create for them and what you can do to help them feel comfortable is highly important. It should be clean, healthy, and attractive. You may also need to employ a helper for the more involved tasks like cleaning, bathing, and dressing.
It is important to have a layout of the house that accommodates their mobility needs and a home decor style that will help them feel at home.
There are some times in a person's life when their disability can become more serious and cause an increase in pain.
When this happens, you will need to help them through it by providing the type of support that they need. This may mean offering to bring them to the doctor for a check-up or making sure they have everything they need for a special occasion like their birthday. It often does not take much to help people feel valued and wanted.
Supporting a loved one with a disability can be quite difficult and risky, but it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience when things are going well.
It is important to remember, though, that you are the only one who can make this experience easier. You need to be there in the long term, so make sure to stick with it.
Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, a company that offers web design services, maintenance, and Internet marketing. She specializes in content marketing, social media, and SEO. She also serves as a blog contributor at Serenity Senior Care. She's an avid personal development enthusiast and an expert in the field of health and fitness. When she's not writing she can be found running hills or hiking trails, rooting for her favorite team (the Pittsburgh Steelers), or watching a good Netflix series.