When a senior is confined to a wheelchair, it can be hard for them to stay socially connected with friends and family. Their disability makes it difficult for them to get out of the house on their own. Sometimes a wheelchair makes it hard for family caregivers and home careservices providers to get the senior into certain public places. As a family caregiver, you may sometimes wonder how you can help your aging relative to stay social.
Though it can take some planning and a little work, there are many ways you can help. Here are just a few.
Check the Venue
When planning an outing for a wheelchair user, check ahead that the venue is accessible. Although there are regulations that apply to public places, there can be situations where the rules don’t apply. For example, old buildings may be grandfathered in so that they do not have to be fully accessible. Also, keep in mind that the homes of relatives and friends may pose a problem. Even if the older adult can get into the house, they may not be able to get into the bathroom. Knowing ahead of time that a place is fully accessible can take the stress out of an outing and allow the older adult to enjoy the day instead of worrying. An home care services provider can call ahead to ask about accessibility, including the width of doorways and whether the wheelchair can fit into the bathroom.
Work with an Occupational Therapist
An occupational therapist can help your aging relative to learn how to perform certain activities while in a wheelchair. They often have creative ideas that make life easier and can help older adults to problem solve getting out of the house. A home care services provider can drive the older adult to occupational therapy appointments.
Pull Up a Chair
Conversations are more comfortable and meaningful when they take place eye to eye. Gently remind friends and family members to sit down instead of standing over the senior and talking down at them. A home care services provider can offer visitors a chair near the older adult so they can sit and chat.
Don’t Focus on the Wheelchair
Encourage visitors to focus on the person instead of on the wheelchair. Even though people mean well, it can help to be prepared for insensitive comments. Try a funny comment or reminding the visitor that the wheelchair helps the senior to stay safe and be more independent. Or, simply redirect the conversation to topics the older adult enjoys talking about.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Matthews NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail.