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Some tips for caregivers of people with disabilities

Taking care of a disabled family member, especially someone who is paraplegic is not as easy task. It takes a lot of patience to reach out to someone who needs you. At the same time, the disabled person must also be able to trust and believe in you. Being a caregiver, you must stay healthy and positive and pass on the same vibes to the person who needs it.

If you are care giving for a person who recently became disabled, you must understand that they will be undergoing several traumas. Being a family member, you must stick on to them and make sure that they feel perfectly all right.

I have noticed that paraplegic people can be emotionally unstable and depressed. Hence, the caregiver must understand that and reach out to them accordingly. Patience is a very important criterion. You must understand that they get easily irritated not because they hate you. Spend a lot of time together with your disabled family member. This makes them feel great. Ask them to join you for social gatherings like marriages or family get togethers. Most of the times, disabled people are left out or dropped at centres when the entire family goes out. I know accessibility is a huge issue. But try and do whatever little you can to make them feel good-Dr Anwar Hussain, Director, Institute of Palliative Medicine

Here are some tips for caregivers of people with disabilities

  • Be aware- Are you fully aware of your family member's disability? For example, a person with a spinal cord injury might not need the same care that is needed for a person who lost their limbs. Even though both of them will be using a wheelchair, their demands vary. So a caregiver must have a clear idea of how and what the disabled person needs. You can consult physiotherapists and doctors in order to get a better idea. You can also discuss it with your other family members as well.
  • Get support- When you take care of a disabled family member, it is very important to get support. You can join online communities and support groups where there will be many like-minded people. Basically, make full use of such social media. You can connect with people and know more tips on how to make care giving great and easier. Family members and friends can also be of great support.
  • Empower them- We all know care giving is not an easy task. One of the foremost things is that you must be able to empower your family member. A disabled person will be undergoing a lot of stress. It is important that you stick on to them through thick and thin. Make sure that they feel great and are never let down. Teach them to become independent and do their own things. Always keep their health as the first priority.
  • Stay healthy- Taking care of a disabled person can be exhausting. You might feel mentally and physically tired. Hence, chances are high that you might stop taking care of yourself. Always make sure that you keep your energy intact. Follow your passion and hobbies. When you feel tired, take a break. Maybe, take some time off to do what you like best. It is very important that you take care of your health just like how you take care of your family member.

Preetha Thonakkal from Kerala started using a wheelchair since the last 13 years. Until then, her life was a struggle. But with the help of her mother Jalaja, Preetha could beat many obstacles on her path.

"Being a care giver, I have to be very strong and supportive to my daughter. There is no room for sadness. When my daughter was younger, she could not do anything on her own. So I had to reach out to her all the time even to take a shower or to have her food. Care givers must be confident and empowering. Support of family members are very important for a disabled person", says Jalaja.

ALSO READ: Some driving tips for people with disabilities

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