Posted on January 10 2019
When you find yourself taking care of a loved one with a mobility impairment, it’s easy for your needs to be overlooked. This is especially true if you’re an accidental caregiver — not in it as a career, but because you happen to be housemates and family of the person with the impairment. The lifestyle changes needed to accommodate the new physical limitations of adults or children with disability take centre stage, and you’re left shouldering the bulk of the burden with none of the shout-out.
Building these three things into your daily lifestyle will help ensure you retain a fair level of independence while still providing meaningful care.
Take care of yourself
Far from being selfish, a regular self-care routine ensures you have the ability to keep providing the support your loved one needs over the long term. This is especially important if you’re juggling the demands of your own career on top of the extraordinary demands of caregiving at home — a space generally considered your “recharge zone”. At its core, self-care routines help you maintain your physical, emotional and mental well-being. This leaves you resourced and resilient when facing the many challenges that come with adapting to your change in role and lifestyle (including the lack of recognition). Set aside a part of every day to do at least one thing for yourself, even if it’s as simple as making a cup of tea. And remember that many self-care routines — such as the commitment to eat properly, exercise regularly and sleep well — are ones that your loved one can easily benefit from as well. After all, extending meals to include them means you both benefit from mindful nutrition and have the opportunity to make new family rituals such as a daily shared meal.
Set realistic expectations for yourself and your loved one — there are some things neither of you will be able or willing to do. This is okay. Acknowledging these boundaries helps keep the air clear of resentment, and ensures both of you remain emotionally resourced to handle the challenges of this new life. It’s normal to feel a complex combination of emotions about the new demands on your time, and while it might feel like it, nobody reasonably expects you to be your loved one’s sole source of assistance.
While you might have no intention of being a long-term, professional caregiver, you’ll be able to manage more efficiently by reaching out to existing support networks. You’ll become increasingly skilled at taking care of yourself and your loved one, and this will leave you better able to rebuild and maintain your independence. Organizations like the Family Caregivers Alliance can link to resources and support services that will help both of you regain normalcy in your lives. Networks like these also help sensitize you to the more practical aspects, such as your financial options — for example, did you know you know your loved one may qualify for a 529A account, or that you could set up a special needs trust together? This boosts their independence and, ultimately, yours too.
Encourage your loved one’s independence with mobility aids
Becoming an expert in transformer-like tech can lighten your load significantly. Advancements in mobility aids means you don’t need to assume you’ll be moving from your multi-storey home when a family member becomes a wheelchair user. Tech like stairlifts and home-lifts make it possible to transport someone up and down stairs with less effort than it takes to carry them. When it comes to maintaining your own independence, it pays to invest in the aids that help you and your loved one resume the greatest amount of normalcy, at the most reasonable price.
Take the Mobile Stairlift, for instance. Investing in one means you own a portable chair that goes up and down stairs, allowing your loved one to get beyond the ground floor with the help of as little as one other person. Because it’s portable, you can use the same chair lift on multiple staircases inside and outside of your home. So you don’t have to be limited to entertaining at home, or relying on wheelchair-friendly or single-story spaces when regaining your mutual social life. Tech as portable, reliable and cost-effective as this makes reclaiming your mutual independence achievable.
To learn more about The Mobile Stairlift, download your introductory brochure here.
Wanting a normal life after mobility impairment?
The Mobile Stairlift will help both you and your loved ones assisting you with just that! From your home to the shops, this portable chair lift helps you navigate stairs, regaining your freedom at an affordable price.