”The Wrong Way To Attend To A Physically Disabled Elderly Relative” is a collaborative post and includes affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional and follow all laws for your location.
Did you know that, globally, around 46% of older people suffer from some form of physical disability? That’s a real stat, and it includes anyone who is 60 or older. A physical disability is any condition that stops someone from partaking in regular physical activities. The most obvious of which is a problem that prevents you from walking.
Sadly, there’s a large chance your elderly parents or close relatives suffer from a physical disability. As such, they may need some extra help and assistance. Depending on their level of disability, it can be quite easy to give or might be a challenge. Their mental health might also add additional difficulties or might help with managing their physical challenges. The most important thing when helping your elderly relative is that you don’t want to do is provide the wrong type of care. Be sure to speak with their physician or a medical professional for best tips.
Also, to help you understand the right approach, here are a few things you shouldn’t do:
Be overly restrictive
When someone has a disability, it’s easy to be worried about them. You worry that they will hurt themselves if they try and do things they used to do all the time. As a result, your instinct is to try to restrict them. An example is you might try to keep them safe by preventing them from going out and walking around on their own. Most of the time, this is one of the worst things to do as it removes all sense of independence from the individual. If their doctor is ok with them taking walks or doing physical exercise, then you shouldn’t try to restrict them! Be there for them if they need help getting to go on walks or other exercises.
Instead of being overly restrictive, find ways to help them be as independent as possible as safely as can be. Buy them things like walking canes or a Zimmer frame that provides physical support. Now, they can walk around and be more independent while also having some constant assistance. Obviously, they’re unable to do certain things like climb the monkey bars at the local park (let’s face it, neither can I and my legs are working just fine), but don’t stop your elderly relatives from going out for walks or trying to tend the garden. Listen to them and respect what they are saying. If they feel up for it, encourage them as it helps their sense of independence and could improve their health.
Conversely, you can’t go in the opposite direction and provide absolutely no support for a loved one with a physical disability. Yes, this can be confusing as you don’t want to be overbearing, but you also can’t leave them on their own. They need independence, but this doesn’t mean you can just neglect their issues and let them handle everything on their own.
It’s all about striking the fine balance between providing support and leaving them to their own devices. One simple idea is to call them or pay them a visit now and then. Truthfully, you can call every day to be sure if they’re okay or if there’s anything they need. If they need something, they’ll ask, and you can provide it. But, don’t assume that everything is fine if they haven’t reached out to you. Most everyone struggles when it comes to asking for help which includes people with or without physical disabilities. You have to make the first move! So, be there for them and don’t let them deal with things all alone.
In summary, the wrong way to attend to an elderly relative is to either neglect them or be too overly restrictive. You must allow them to feel as independent as possible while still providing your ongoing support as required.
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