Caregiving Tips For the Families and Friends of Individuals with Disabilities

If you are a friend or family member who provides care for a disabled person, whether an adult or child, combining caregiving, personal, and everyday needs can be a considerable challenge. Here are a few tips to help you stay positive and healthy.
Be Informed:

  • Gather available info regarding your family member’s disability or condition. Discuss issues with others who are also involved in the care of your family member. Being informed will enable you to make knowledgeable decisions regarding their health and to improve your knowledge regarding any future challenges that might arise.
  • Take note of how others care for the individual with special needs. Educate yourself regarding what the signs of physical and mental abuse are.

Gather Support:

  • Join an online or local support group. Joining a support group will provide you with the opportunity to connect with others who are involved in a similar situation. Being a part of such a group will assist in combatting the fear and isolation that can accompany being a caregiver.
  • Your involvement shouldn’t be limited strictly to just local support groups. National groups can provide physical services, recreation, and information for those with disabilities.
  • Friends and family members can offer support in a number of different manners, even unexpected ones. Don’t let your pride overrule your ability to reach out to others for assistance when you need it.

Become Empowered:

  • Instead of focusing on what your disabled family member can’t do, instead focus on what they can do.
  • Find appropriate and relative milestones and celebrate them accordingly.
  • If a person asks questions about your disabled family member, let him or her answer when they are capable. Doing so can empower your disabled family member can empower and encourage them to connect with others.

Take Care of Yourself:

  • Take care of yourself. Even the strongest caregiver can become worn out over time. You can’t help your family member remain healthy if you aren’t in peak condition yourself.
  • Make a concentrated effort to maintain your own hobbies, personal interests, and friendships. Providing care should not consume your entire life. This is not healthy for you or the person you are caring for. Balance is the perfect key here.
  • Take short breaks. A relaxing bath or a short walk in the evenings can be enormously beneficial. Longer breaks can be quite nurturing. Plan a getaway with your significant other or go on a retreat with your friends.
  • Don’t ignore symptoms or signs of illness. If you start to become sick, seek care from a health care provider. Pay close attention to your emotional and mental health as well. Following a sensible diet and receiving an adequate amount of exercise are important too.

Finally, consider respite care. “Respite” is defined as temporary, short term care offered to those with disabilities, so that their familial caregivers can enjoy a break from the daily demands of caregiving