8 Simple Ways You Can Help A Disabled Person Live Normally and Comfortably
Living with a disability is a struggle on its own and having to live with forgetfulness that you are a human being willing to participate as an active member of society and that you too have talents and skills, just like everyone else. And when everyone else seems to forget that fact – it is the straightforward road to break both the heart and will.
However, a disability doesn’t just affect the patient, it also affects the lives of their immediate family and friends. If you have a disabled person in your life, or you’re merely an enthusiastic person wanting to help someone sidelined, there are many simple ways to make them feel seen, respected and to increase their comfort and prosperity.
Firstly, and mostly, the happiness and wellbeing start from one’s home and the way they live in their own tells you a lot about how much they are aware of their disability or the people living with them.
Depending on the disability and the level of it, some of the basic home elements must be met – a safe, injury-free, easy-to-move-around area, with enough space or supporting bars, places to rest, and to lay aside mobility accessories. Don’t dismiss the importance of a clean, ventilated, tidy home and the impact it has on a disabled person – it will make them feel as their life is in order and they will know exactly where everything is, without bumping, avoiding, or stumbling around. So, offer to clean their home, invest in a piece of new furniture, take out the garbage for them, declutter the mess or simply make them a hearty and healthy meal.
Everyday Useful Gadgets
On a continuing note, if you live with a disabled person or they live alone, one must strive to enable the best possible usage of everyday items and gadgets, enabling independent living as much as possible. You maybe haven’t thought about this, but if you visit any mobility store you will notice a whole plethora of utensils and widgets that could help your disabled person. There are manual and electric can and jar openers, chopping boards to hold food in place, modified knives to use with these, kettle tippers, spout mugs, twin handle mugs, hands-free drinking systems.
All these might not seem much, but it’s the ability to do small, everyday actions that sometimes make a world of difference.
Before going straight to the person with an obvious disability, you must always ask before straight out helping them to cross the street, for example. But, most of them will be thankful for helping them around, because it’s one thing moving around one’s home, completely different one moving in a big, vast, hostile world.
If a person’s disability means they’re unable to drive, you can volunteer to help with transportation, to either drive them somewhere or to follow them in public transportation. You can help with accessing buildings without ramps and other disability-friendly devices, or simply walk with them and be there for them, especially if their disability is a new circumstance.
Finding an Occupation?
As mentioned, most handicapped people are very much able to work and are striving for it but, unfortunately, their community is still discriminated against at work or they’re being refused a job or denied a final interview.
Although this is a big question to solve as a society, disabled people need to stay actively engaged, because this is not only making them an equal part of it but it means gallons for their mental health as well. Therefore, help them to either find a job or engage in a hobby, develop new interests or participate differently in old favorites.
Interact and Communicate
Sometimes, that is all they need – someone to talk to and listen to their struggles of everyday life and the world around them. Mostly, and sadly, disabled people don’t have basic and necessary everyday interaction, as people around them believe that satisfaction of their bodily and health needs is all they need. Yes, primary, but not entirely.
For complete wellbeing and normal living, a disabled person needs to have social interaction and normal communication, about everyday things and situations, not only about the one they found themselves in.
Join them in watching their favorite TV channels or for dinner, play their favorite game, talk about actual world themes, make them join in a club for disabled people, have a walk with them.
Another issue for many people when connecting with the disabled, especially if it’s a new disability or an unknown person, is the way to talk to and interact with them naturally and without apprehension. You can follow these simple ways:
- Speak normally, meaning don’t speak louder or slower.
- If you speak with a person in a wheelchair, sit down so that you’re at eye level.
- Pay attention to personal space.
- Don’t assume you know what they want, feel, or what’s best for them.
- Don’t use offensive terms and euphemisms.
- Before you help someone, ask if they need help.
Promote Social Inclusion
If you want to help your disabled person more profoundly and deeply, work on that social inclusion and educate others – spread awareness through social media, direct others to relevant websites and organizations that teach how to interact with disabled people, and expand the voice to political, economical and school systems.
Especially, learning about differences and how to accept them starts at a young age so less discrimination and more social inclusion will occur only if we teach our children how to treat and interact with disabled peers first and then everybody else.
There are many circumstances in which you can find yourself helping a disabled person, and volunteering is one of the best. If someone close to you is disabled, you will be aware enough to help others as well, and you can even do that together.
There’s a lot of enlisted activities one can do – you can go fundraising or collect signatures for a petition for new ramps or road markings, call local hospitals and nursing homes, join organizations and groups, raise awareness of limited access to objects with mobility-related disabilities, and volunteer to train a service dog. Good luck!
Indeed, not all of these ways will apply to every disability out there, but they’re a good place to start when thinking about how to improve the quality of a disabled person’s life and how to create a more friendly and tolerant world that will see the similarities all human beings share… which includes people with disabilities too.
By Allen Brown.