• Dr. Brandy Archie

How to Make Living Easier for a Loved One with a Disability


It’s challenging for anyone to live with a disability, and it’s also often difficult for the people who love them. If you’re that person, you might feel helpless or unsure of how you can lend a hand. The good news is that being in their inner circle means you have plenty of opportunities to show that you care and want what’s best for them.


These are some of the ways you can help improve their quality of life:



Invest in living aids and smart devices for the home


One way you can definitely make life easier is to improve the quality of your home and theirs—if you live separately! As their home is a space that they should be able to call their own, they should be able to move around comfortably and do as they wish.


There are a wide variety of living aids that can help your loved ones fulfill their daily tasks without encountering many difficulties. For instance, wall light switch plate extenders make it easier for people in wheelchairs to activate the controls. You should also install bed rails so that you can avoid the common bed and sleep issues that people with disabilities often struggle with.


A smart home system can also be beneficial for your loved one (and even for yourself) because it provides them with much more control over their spaces. For instance, voice assistants are one of the best devices for people with disabilities. This technology can lock doors, change thermostat settings, and call the user's contacts even through voice command. That means they can also call for emergency assistance if, for instance, they have fallen or injured themselves at home.



Connect them with qualified healthcare professionals


The CDC discovered that individuals with disabilities are more likely to experience preventable health problems because of their lack of access to proper healthcare. Through the knowledge and guidance of qualified medical professionals, however, you can help them maintain their health and improve their overall quality of life.


An older family member can benefit from caregivers who are experienced in assisting people as they dress up, use the bathroom, move around their homes, or take their medication. Your loved one can also improve their approach to health by regularly consulting with primary care practitioners, such as nurse practitioners (NPs). NPs have achieved their BSN to DNP qualification and work in a variety of settings that can help people living with disabilities. For example, family NPs assist family members of all ages while adult-gerontology primary care NPs care for individuals in their aging years.


There are also a rising number of children who are in need of care for complex pediatric conditions from experts like developmental and behavioral specialists. So if your child is in need of the same assistance, then Pediatric NPs and developmental doctors can help from their birth up to young adulthood. Any of these experts can develop a plan to care for people with disabilities and to manage their conditions. Give your loved ones a better life by reaching out to a healthcare professional who can cater to their specific needs.



Support their hobbies and interests


Your loved one’s mental and emotional health are important, too! Encourage them to live a balanced and happy life through their hobbies. These simple yet impactful activities can improve their physical health, increase their sleep quality, reduce their stress, and even introduce them to new friends.


If they already have favorite pastimes, you can continue to support them by buying them tools for those activities or by offering to do those activities together. If not, then you can help them find hobbies by aligning them with their interests and looking for ways they can exercise their interests. Maybe you can help find groups of people that are into cooking if that’s where their interest lies, or a book club if they like to read.



Ask them if they need help and respect their answer


Living aids and smart devices are necessary for your loved ones to live a more independent life. Similarly, you must allow them to have more control over their lives by assisting them when they ask for help and respecting their boundaries when they don’t ask for—or need—it.


Due to your genuine love and concern for your loved one, you may be tempted to hover over them and assist them in every step of the way. Though you may have good intentions, it is also important to remember that they know and understand what they need. Ask them how you can help them if they ask for your assistance, but stand back and respect them if they know they can do a task on their own.


Your loved one can move past the limitations and live a fulfilled life through their support system. Allow them to live a better life by improving your home, respecting their boundaries, and investing in their overall health.


Proud to be your aging-in-place resource in Kansas City and Wichita for wheelchair ramps, shower chairs, and everything in between!

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