Disability does not only affect the person who has succumbed to a disease or gone through a harrowing accident. Their loved ones also share the burden of picking up the pieces and starting a fresh chapter in life.
While there is no single way to help a disabled person cope with the physical or mental changes that he has undergone, friends and relatives can contribute greatly in this transition.
In your own time
Many people misunderstand the Kubler-Ross model of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance as being linear. Instead, people go through these stages differently, in different durations and different orders. In short, reaching the stage of acceptance will not always be easy. There may be days wherein you will find it hard to get over the changes that have taken place not only in the person, but also in the dynamics of your relationship with your loved one.
Find your anchor
For families that go through these difficult experiences, chronic sorrow becomes part and parcel of their new lives. In order to overcome this sorrow, people must shift their focus toward loving the person as he is now. This may mean living (and loving) in the now or redefining the relationship by going back to the things that have made you love a person.
Manage your expectations
The last thing that you would want to do is to compare your loved one’s progress or condition with other patients’. Instead, find reputable professionals who can help you better manage your expectations. It would also be beneficial for you and your loved one to celebrate minor progress as a form of milestone.
Retrofit your home
In more practical terms, making adjustments in the layout and the structure of your home can better help you and your loved one adjust to the changes he has undergone. Even minor upgrades like installing walk-in bathtubs and grab bars in the toilet can increase the comfort and quality of life of both patient and caregiver.
You do not have to go it alone
In the same manner that a person with a disability does not have to go through all the changes he has undergone by himself, families should also welcome any help their friends and relatives offer. These people simply want to show that they care for you and your loved one.
It would also be beneficial to join communities that can give you and your resources a constant source of encouragement and help in various forms.
If you need help with coping with a loved one’s disability, search our national directory to find a counsellor or psychotherapist in your local area at http://www.australiacounselling.com.au