Being a caregiver is one of the most selfless roles there is. As a family caregiver, carrying out this role can be both a satisfying and overwhelming responsibility. According to the Center for Disease Control, one in four American adults have a disability that impacts major daily activities. Also, one in five children suffers from a developmental disability. While there is no “right” way to perform this important job, when it comes to caring for an adult or child with special needs, there are a number of unique challenges you may face as a caregiver. If you are caring for a special needs child or adult, let us share a few tips to help you feel more confident performing this important role.
1. Do some research.
While each person is different, it is important to understand the disability that your loved one has. Learn about the different behaviors and characteristics of the disability, as well as the limitations of the adult or child you are caring for may experience. Understanding how the disability presents itself and how it may impact daily activities, such as getting around the house, going to school, or participating in social interactions, can help you adequately meet your loved one’s needs.
2. Advocate, advocate, advocate.
In addition to being a caregiver, you are also an advocate for your loved one’s needs. You likely understand your loved one’s struggles better than anyone else. Taking an active role in advocating for his or her best interests is both important and rewarding. We encourage you to take some time to learn as much as you can about your loved one’s disability, then learn about your legal rights as his or her family member. Once you have this knowledge base, you can lend your voice and offer solutions to your loved one’s school if they are a minor, as well as elected officials and legislators to try and inspire change.
3. Consider joining a caregiver support group.
As rewarding as being a caregiver is, it can also, at times, be emotionally taxing and overwhelming. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your loved one. Consider joining a caregiver support group either online or in person, or even create one yourself! Sharing and hearing stories about common experiences can help you feel less isolated and may help relieve some of your stress.
Did this article raise more questions than answers for you? Do not wait to contact our office! Remember, we are the local community law firm here to help and support you.