How to look after a family member with disability?

People who has family members with a disability will know this – that taking care of them (be it a child or an adult) can be a very challenging task. 

We’re not just talking about helping with the daily living tasks i.e. preparing meals, cleaning and laundry, providing transport etc., it is also about providing emotional support. The latter alone can be a rather taxing task, especially if your family member suffers from emotional issues (e.g. depression).

On top of that, you will have to monitor their health status and be readily available should there be any sudden emergencies. Just this alone can be highly stressful to many already, but you may have to also advocate on their behalf (make important decisions for them) and manage their finances i.e. organize bill payments, payments for private support services etc. 

All these, in addition to managing your own daily life. So for one to feel lost or helpless in the process of it all, it is highly understandable. Which is why we have come up with the following caregiving tips to help you and those you care for stay safe and healthy.

1. Be informed

This should be the very first step to do when you know you have to take care of someone with a disability. Gather information about your family member’s condition and know what is the scope of the tasks and duties required of you. 

Often, many lack of knowledge about what the role involved and how it would impact the rest of their lives so make sure you are informed. This will help you make more knowledgeable health decisions and improve your understanding about any challenges and changes that may present to your own work, interests, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Also, being informed also means knowing what services were available to help you. NDIS provider Melbourne is one of them – contact them to find out what sort of help you can get. 

2. Learn

You may need to help with mobility so learn how to do this properly to prevent injuries. Find out how to manage incontinence if this is an issue your family member is dealing with, and find out what equipment or home changes that need to be made so that you can help them move around safely and do things for themselves.  

3. Get Support 

There are plenty of carer and disability support available i.e. NDIS so do your research to find out if your family member is eligible. Friends, family, health care providers, support groups, community services and counsellors are just a few of the people available to help you and your family so look them up. Know that nursing homes are not the only immediate option – in-home care is much more flexible and may suit more than you think. 

4. Take Care of Yourself

As mentioned above, caring for a family member with disability can wear out even the strongest caregiver. So look after yourself – work hard to maintain your personal interests and friendships and don’t let caregiving consume your whole life. Delegate some tasks to other people and take a break when you need it. Find out what respite care you could get while you go away and recharge yourself.

Hope the above tips help with your caregiving journey. Remember, it is only when you’re healthy that you can take care of someone else, so don’t wear yourself out!