How a New Disability Can Affect Your Loved One’s Mental Health (and What You Can Do to Help)

person with disability

Helping a newly disabled loved one can be a sensitive trek to take. They were accustomed to doing things on their own, from taking care of their own body to making all the decisions concerning them. But now that they have a disability, they will need some kind of assistance depending on their condition. Their physical health is not your only concern. When it comes to disabilities, their mental health is what often suffers the most.

Anxiety and Depression as Side Effects of Disability

Disabled people often feel sad and depressed. This is since many people still the disability first before they see the person. Disabled people see this as some kind of discrimination, which in turn makes them anxious and depressed.

A person’s disability can also force them to isolate themselves from others, even their loved ones. They think too much about how hard it can be to socialize without others judging them, asking about their condition, and how to get to and from the venue. They don’t want to be a burden to others which is why they would rather stay at home.

The financial hardships that come with living as a newly disabled person and still having to pay your bills can add to their stress. If your loved one use to be a workaholic and their new disability makes it impossible to go back to their past job, this will only increase to their already stressed and depressed state.

What You Can Do to Help

It will take a lot of patience and hard work before you can finally bring your loved one out of their shell. But with your help, you can help them better cope with their new condition, boost their mental health, and encourage them to live a positive outlook in life despite their disability.

wheelchair at home

Ask Them to Go to Out More Often

They might want solitude, but that does not mean they don’t need your company. So once in a while, make sure to take them with you to the park, be with nature, and just enjoy watching strangers interact in public. Going out, being with other people, enjoying nature, and basking in sunlight can instantly boost a depressed person’s mood.

If they are worried about being a burden to you, you can consider going shopping with them to buy a new wheelchair you can easily haul and bring whenever, wherever. Investing in one of the best lightweight wheelchairs will give them peace of mind knowing they are not giving you a hard time whenever you ask them to go out with you.

Prepare Healthy Home Cooked Meals

Nutrition is very important for a healthy mind. Studies suggest that a person’s diet can impact mental health. So, as often as you can, prepare home-cooked meals perfect for their needs.

Consider the diet their doctor prescribed to help recover faster. If they can eat anything and are not allergic to anything, consider meals that are tasty but can provide all the nutrients they might need.

Encourage them to eat more fruits, vegetables, and starchy foods, and to drink lots of water. Limit red fatty meats, sweet foods, and dairy products. Such a diet is good for them if they are now wheelchair-bound since they now require fewer calories.

Help Make Their Home Work More Accommodating

Sometimes, you will need to modify their home to better accommodate their new needs. Wheelchair users need a home accessible to wheelchairs, have wider hallways and doors, and a front door with a ramp, so they can wheel their way into the house. If they live in a multiple-story house, they might need a stair lift or an elevator, so they can access the room upstairs.

The bathroom can be a safety hazard which means you will need to clear all barriers, install handrails, and possibly a step-in bathtub to make it easier for them to use the bathroom. Replace regular doorknobs with lever-type doorknobs. It is also a must that you remove any clutter in common areas, rearrange their furniture and make everything they might need within their reach.

Encourage Them to Pursue a Passion

Being disabled should not be a reason for them to stop pursuing their interests. Luckily, more businesses are more accommodating to disabled people and many organizations are on a mission to help people with disabilities pursue their passion. One only needs to know where to look and how to motivate them to never stop trying.

For instance, if they always into sports and basketball is their passion, why not encourage them to meet with other disabled people who are into wheelchair basketball? If they want to use their drawing skills to earn a living, then they can always apply online. Thankfully, today’s technology makes it easier even for disabled people to earn and pursue their careers without leaving the comforts of their home.

It is not easy to care for a newly disabled loved one. But they need you now more than ever. With your love and support, they won’t feel as lonely and depressed. You can help them cope and learn to stay positive despite their current challenges. Sometimes, even your presence is more than enough to help them heal their mental health.

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