Helping With Disabilties

General guidelines to follow when caring for a loved one with physical disabilities.

Hearing Impairments

  • Face your loved one and speak clearly. Do not shout.
  • Touch your loved one to get his or her attention. Do not approach your loved one from behind.
  • Repeat yourself if necessary.
  • Keep background noise to a minimum.
  • Use short sentences.

Visual Impairments

  • Make sure the room is well-lighted.
  • Do not move furniture around.
  • Keep floor free from clutter.
  • Use black and white clocks and telephones. White clocks with large black numbers and white telephones with large black numbers are easier to read.
  • Keep glasses handy and clean.
  • Mark indicators with tape on stoves or thermostats. For example, place tape on the 68 degree level and 78 degree level of the heater thermostat so your loved one cannot turn the heat off or turn it up to 95.
  • Use back burners on the cook stove. Keep pan handles turned in toward the stove top so the pan cannot be accidently spillied.

Speech Impairments

  • Speak slowly in a normal tone.
  • Keep a pencil, pen, and paper handy.
  • Do not shout.
  • Do not talk for your loved one.
  • Use short sentences.
  • Remember: Your loved one is having difficulty with speech, not hearing. Do not talk about your loved one to another person when your loved one is in the room.

Loss Of A Limb

  • Keep floor free from clutter if your loved one uses a wheelchair or other mobility aid.
  • Ask your loved one if you can cut food into bite-size pieces if his or her arm or hand is impaired.
  • Combing and brushing your loved one’s hair is helpful if you can comb it in the style to which your loved one is accustomed.
  • Elevating the impaired limb helps reduce swelling.
  • Always place the impaired limb so your loved one is not sitting, laying, or leaning on it.

Your loved one may be sensitive about his or her appearance with the loss of a limb. Help your loved one by covering that area. Your loved one may also have itching or “pain” in the arm or leg that has been lost. This is not an unusual feeling. Be understanding and try to divert his or her attention to help him or her forget the pain and itching.

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