You know what is the most destructive thing for a person with disabilities? Excessive help. There is nothing more harmful than not letting people do anything for themselves. Even some minor things. The same works for children too. One of my close friends has been suffering eye problems since childhood. His mother decided to do everything for her son. I mean everything. By the age of 18 he has never washed the dishes or even made his bed. Ultimately, it was very hard for him to start a parent-independent life. The matter is that such overcare wasn’t necessary. The boy could almost fully deal with his routine by himself. And his mother has only harmed him more. She hasn’t trained him to live with his disability. In opposite, she has isolated him from any training.
So the rule is the following: make people who you care about do as much as they can on their own.
Sometimes it’s even harder than to do it simply by yourself. For examples, if a person has a partial paralysis (cannot walk but can operate with hands), encourage this person to eat, to wash up, or even to cook by him/herself. You see the point? It’s much easier to make a dinner and to bring it for this person’s to bed, but thus you make this individual feel unable to do it independently. You set limits for the person. So don't!
So among the ways to encourage disabled people to be active are the following:
- First, you need carefully evaluate a condition of a person in care. Estimate what he or she is capable of doing. Do not do everything for them, even though it could save you time and nerves.
- Always ask a person whether she/he would like to do this or that. Give a choice, encourage this person to a decision-making. List the options, be patient to wait for the answer.
- Softly push your patients to actions, even the small ones. Let them try to feed themselves, or do their hair, or brush their teeth. You must be always there to help but don’t deprive people of a chance for independence and activity.
Remember that your goal is not only to care about people’s physical comfort but also care about the fulfillment of their personal will.