A family member becoming disabled can be an extremely difficult situation to handle. Not only do you need to provide them with the care they need, but you also may have to figure out what to do with their property and how to manage their finances. If your family member becomes disabled, you’ll need help to navigate this trying time and avoid some of the common pitfalls many people fall into in these situations. Australian residents should also make sure they contact NDIS service providers.
7 Tips for Caring for Family With Disabilities
If you find yourself having to care for someone in your family who’s become disabled, you may not know where to begin. While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, this guide will walk you through the things you should do when a family member becomes disabled.
1. Decide If You Need a Caregiver
When working with a family member with a disability, it can be helpful to hire a caregiver. If you’re thinking about hiring a caregiver, there are several things to keep in mind. First, make sure your loved one needs one. It may be tempting to hire someone to help with errands and chores after an injury or illness— but that’s not always necessary.
For instance, if your mother is at home and her dementia causes her to forget how to cook or do laundry, she might simply need a short-term caregiver for a few hours every week (e.g., someone who could teach her how to do these things again). Remember: There are many types of disability — cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease as well as physical issues such as stroke or heart failure — so think about what kind of care might be required.
2. Install a Chairlift
Do you or a loved one have a disability that prevents you from enjoying certain activities, such as climbing the stairs? If so installing a chairlift might be an effective way to restore their ability to enjoy certain activities. While they can be expensive to install and operate, chairlifts allow those with limited mobility to overcome steep terrain.
3. Install Door Closers
In a home with anyone with disabilities, it’s important to take preventative measures to keep them safe from harm. Installing automatic Norton door closers is a good way to protect your loved one from accidentally being slammed in a doorway or being exposed to unsafe environments behind closed doors. Many automatic door operators also have a function to automatically open doors with the detection of movement, making it ideal for those who are bound to a wheelchair. The easiest way to install a door closer is with a power drill and instruction manual. It can be done within an hour, depending on how many closers need to be installed.
4. Understand Medicaid Eligibility
If your family member is disabled, Medicaid could be your ticket to gaining financial security. Medicaid is an insurance program funded by taxes and available in every state. Generally, to qualify for Medicaid, one’s income must be less than 138% of federal poverty guidelines. This means that if you are single, you must make less than $16,394 annually to qualify for Medicaid benefits. If you are married and have no children, your household must make less than $22,980. If you are married with children under 21 years old living at home with you, your household must make no more than $33,534.
5. Upgrade Your Toilet
Upgrading your toilet is another important measure to take to make sure your loved one with disabilities is safe. If you don’t already have one, install a grab bar above your toilet. Someone with a disability may not be able to rely on their physical strength or balance alone to avoid falls, so it’s important to install safety bars in your bathroom. This can be done cheaply and easily with materials found at any hardware store.
6. Install Handrails
Another important upgrade to make sure your loved one with disabilities is safe is to install handrails. Handrails are inexpensive and will help both you and your loved one safely get around. You can buy them online or at most hardware stores. The height of your railings depends on whether you are using them for stairs or not.
Keep in mind that an ADA-compliant railing height for stairs would be 30 inches, measured from the top of a stair tread to just above top riser level to 24 inches above that level. These measurements meet code requirements for ramps with open ends, steps, landings, and stairs leading to raised platforms if needed. Be sure to purchase handrails with appropriately placed support brackets so they are secure enough to prevent accidental falls by you or anyone else in your home.
7. Replace Doorknobs
People with certain disabilities are often unable to turn doorknobs or unlock doors. Replacing your doorknobs is a great way to help someone manage their disability. Consider replacing all of your knobs at once, to make it easy for your loved one to navigate through the entire house.
Make sure your loved ones are properly cared for, no matter the situation. Keep these tips in mind to make sure you and your home can meet your family member’s needs.