Overcoming the Challenges of Caring for a Loved One with Limited Mobility

When someone you care for is unable to care for themselves efficiently anymore, it’s only natural to want to step in and help out. This is especially true when your family member is unable to get around well. Limited mobility can make living alone very difficult, which is why may chose to move a disabled or elderly loved one into their home. The transition, although noble, won’t be an easy one. For both the caretaker and the disabled family member, there will be frustrations and limitations that need to be dealt with. Here are some of the most common concerns.

Comfortable Living Arrangements

One of the first areas of concern is providing comfortable living arrangements for your injured, disabled, or aging loved one. Their limited ability to get around can make it challenging for them to reside comfortably under your roof. It will require you to help them with doing everything from climbing the stairs to using the restroom – which can become tedious. The solution is to create a comfortable space for your family member that keeps safety in mind. Here are some changes you may need to consider around your home to make them at ease:

Grab Bars and Lifts – To get around safely, someone with limited mobility may need more support. Though they may have crutches or a cane, additional support around the house can prevent them from falling and getting seriously hurt. Grab bars and lifts can be installed in the bathroom, on the stairs, in their bedroom, and other areas around the house they are known to frequent, and stairlifts can enable safer and more secure movement up and down stairs.

Sleeping aids– For those suffering from arthritis or chronic pain, getting in and out of bed can be difficult and painful. Laying flat may also cause complications. Instead of investing in a bed, it may be better suited to get a sleep chair. Such chairs are designed like recliners only having features that allow it to completely extend and stand to help users in and out of the chair.

Elevators – If your loved one is wheelchair-bound or is completely incapable of climbing stairs, you may have to have an elevator installed in your home. Brands such as Easy Climber have various sizes and styles for you to choose from to make it easier for your family member to get from one floor to the next.

Ramps – Again, those who are wheelchair bound or handicapped will need additional assistance. This includes getting in and out of the house. Installing a ramp in the front of your home is a lot safer and easier than trying to carry them from the car to the home.

Lifestyle Changes

Another obstacle that both the caretaker and family member will have to overcome is the lifestyle changes. There will be sacrifices and emotional dynamics on both sides that need to be addressed. As the caretaker, you’ll notice that most of your free time is dedicated to caring for your family member. The person suffering from limited mobility, on the other hand, has to accept their disability, limitations, and adjusting to living in someone else’s home. Here are some solutions to dealing with these lifestyle changes.

Don’t Stop Caring for Yourself – The emotional and physical strain of caring for another person who is injured or disabled can be crippling if you allow it. Though you may feel down, isolated, and even overworked, it is imperative to continue taking care of yourself. Eat right, exercise, groom yourself and get the required amount of sleep every night.

Maintain Social Circles – You may not have as much time as you’d like to hang with friends or even other members of your household (like your kids or spouse), but that doesn’t mean you should stop communicating and spending time with others. It is important to maintain social circles. Even if it’s just going out to breakfast with friends once a month or taking a trip every few months with your children, this time away from the caretaker role can help prevent things like depression or burnout. As for the disabled, injured, or elderly, it is important for them to maintain social circles as well. Make plans for them to hang out with friends or interact with others so they too can remain emotionally balanced in light of their current condition.

Making the decision to care for someone with limited mobility is a noble one. Yet, there are a lot of obstacles ahead that you want to be prepared for. As much as you love your family member, and as appreciative as they may be that you’re willing to help, the transition comes with its ups and downs. You can overcome some of these obstacles by creating a home that is safe, inviting, and comfortable for your loved one while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes caring for yourself and spending time with others. If you need help or start to feel overwhelmed be sure to reach out to others for support.

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

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