When someone is new to using a wheelchair, it can be a daunting period in their life – especially if using a wheelchair is going to be a permanent lifestyle change that they will have to manage.
Whether it is due to illness or injury, there are many ways that you can help your loved one adapt, some of which will be discussed in the following article.
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Make Suitable Adjustments
If your family member has gone from being a long-distance runner to now being in a wheelchair, this is going to take some adjusting. If they worked at a job that allowed them to sit down, then suitable adjustments will need to be made by their employer to help them keep their job.
Around the home, they maybenefit from having rails put in their bathroom, while in the bedroom, they might need to have their bed lowered. Plus, if they own a car, suitable adjustments can be made to allow them to drive it. If you aren’t sure what these adjustments are, head over to alliedmobility.com for more information about wheelchair-adapted vehicles.
Talk To Them
If your loved one has suddenly had reduced mobility thrust upon them, it is likely that they will be upset and possibly even angry. You may need to encourage them to talk about how they feel, and one of the best ways to do this is to have them communicate how they are feeling.
What’s more, it is worth having the conversation about disability not meaning ‘incompetent’ or ‘worthless,’ which some disabled peoplefeel when they are struggling to get used to limitations, particularly in the beginning.
If your loved one also happens to struggle with mental health issues, it can be worth seeking the guidance of atherapist to help them work through this major change in their life.
If you live in a city, it can be relatively easy to get support for people in wheelchairs. There may even be clubs or groups operating nearby that can cater to their needs, so they don’t have to give up on their social life.
There is also a wealth of websites online that can help people mentally learn to adapt to living their life in a wheelchair. Always aim to seek these out and try to keep a positive attitude, as your positivity will rub off on your family member.
It is likely that during the first few months of using a wheelchair, your loved one will be irritable, especially if they are in pain, so it is important for you as their caregiver or family member to be as patient as you can with them. If you feel that you are losing your temper, walk away – the last thing they need right now is a blazing row, which can lose their support and trash their morale.
Maintain Their Independence
When someone is new to using a wheelchair, it can feel like their life is over. Of course, this is not the truth; there are millions of people who go about their daily lives whilst using wheelchairs without having lost any independence.
To help them keep their independence, you may need to assist them in choosing new furniture or making adjustments to their current furniture. This can make it easier for them to navigate around their own home and may include lowering light switches, installing rails for support, putting in a stairlift, attaching additional handles to doors, or even removing doors entirely.