How to Help a Loved One Adjust to Life in a Wheelchair
It can be a traumatic experience for anyone to lose their mobility and adjust to life in a wheelchair. The prospect of spending life in a wheelchair can fill a lot of people with fear. It may be necessary to make adjustments around the home, change travel plans, or having difficulty getting the person dressed.
Unfortunately, many shopping malls, airports, parks, and recreation facilities are not designed with wheelchairs in mind.
So, how can you help a loved one adjust to life in a wheelchair?
Adjustments at home
One of the first things to help with is to arrange for the necessary adjustments around the home to be made. This means making sure that doors are wide enough, door handles are easy to open, workspace in the kitchen is lowered and the appropriate aids are installed in the bathroom. Usually, before you buy a wheelchair, it's best to make these arrangements.
You may also want to think about the type of flooring. It can be difficult to move in a wheelchair if there are thick carpets in the home. Usually, hardwood or tile flooring is easier.
You will probably have to arrange for better access to the home by the use of ramps.
Give practical support
It is also important to reassure your loved one of practical support that you can provide. For example, it can put someone’s mind at ease just to know that groceries will be delivered regularly, they will be taken out for trips if practical, and you will be there to speak to them.
Explore new technology
There are also ways that you can help a person adjust to life in a wheelchair by looking at new technology. For example, there are digital companions like the Amazon Echo device that responds to voice commands. This can help a person with reduced mobility turn lights on and off, order items on the internet, or play music.
You could also help a loved one confined to a wheelchair use video call apps like Skype or Facebook. These can be great tools that help connect a person with limited mobility to family, friends, or support groups.
Even though it can be challenging, there are many practical ways that you can help a loved one adjust to life in a wheelchair.