More than 4 million people in Australia have some kind of disability, with the majority being elderly persons (above 65 years). This presents a unique challenge for caregivers and loved ones because there aren't enough adult care facilities to take care of all these people. What's more, disabled people thrive more in the familiar home environment where attention is directed at them and the support of loved ones is readily available.
Families taking care of a disabled person need plenty of support in order to offer the best care for these people. This article suggests two important tips that can make at-home care possible and easier for family members. Read on to learn more.
Home care services can help
Taking care of a disabled loved one is a long journey, and getting professional help can make this journey manageable for loved ones. There are many advantages to this:
Flexible, specialised care – care facilities don't typically have the manpower to give constant attention if that's what your loved one needs. Family members may burn out trying to provide such services while taking care of their own responsibilities.
Peace of mind – with a professional taking care of the major load, you are free to offer love and other forms of support to help your loved one thrive. This also frees up your time to make more money and be able to afford the home-care services (a cycle of benefit).
Basic help for dependent loved ones – many people with disabilities need help with basics like eating, personal hygiene, cooking, moving around etc. You may not need medical assistance for these but just someone to be around to make these things easier for them
Try to foster their independence
A small number of disabled people are actually able to live alone with minimal assistance. Loved ones of such people should encourage them to do so, as this fosters their own sense of self and control over their lives. A loved one or caregiver can step in for those few activities with which they need help.
Disabled people, where possible, should be encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves (many actually want this, but are stifled by overprotective loved ones). Loved ones struggle with this because of safety concerns (will they be safe?), identity concerns (I want them to feel accepted as they are), emotional concerns (I don't want others to look down on them/I want to make life easier for them since they already struggle with this disability) and achievement concerns (How can I maximise their potential without harming them?).
These are valid concerns, and your loved one's doctor can help you figure out exactly how much or how little to allow your loved one to do. The most important thing is to allow them to exercise whatever little control they can over themselves. It can be as simple as letting them pick their own clothes or as complex as training them (with lots of patience) to handle basic tasks for themselves.
The most important thing to remember is that fostering independence isn't about punishing your loved one; rather, you're equipping them to take control over their own lives in case you (or others) aren't there or able to do it for them.
For more information about disability care, visit websites such as https://simplyhelping.com.au.