Christmas 2020 is likely to be a highly unusual period, thanks to the unique circumstances of the novel coronavirus. For certain people, it might be more of a struggle, with so many restrictions in place. Those living with a disability are likely to feel the impact disproportionately. According to survey findings from the Office for National Statistics, disabled people are more worried about the impact than their able-bodied counterparts, and they’re suffering from lapses in treatment as a result of the virus.
Any support that we can offer to vulnerable friends and family over the period may therefore be especially valuable to disabled people. But what form might this support take?
Disabled people may have difficulty obtaining the essential items that they need to function at home. Asking for help can often be difficult, as it can mean admitting to a loss of independence. Take the first step by sending an unsolicited support package. You might include food, blankets and medication – as well as personalised treats to demonstrate that you’re thinking of them. The warmth of human kindness can be a valuable source of sustenance!
Where restrictions permit, it’s worth touching base in person. You might have a short conversation from the end of a driveway, or from even closer. Don’t feel that you have to get closer, especially if you know that your relative is worried about the possibility of contagion. Make sure that you observe every sensible precaution during visits. If your disabled relative needs help getting from place to place, then you might either drive them yourself, or arrange for a vehicle that they can drive themselves.
Staying in Touch
Regular contact with your relative can demonstrate that you’re there for them. This might mean forming a WhatsApp group that they can contribute to, or it might mean sending them texts every now and then. You don’t need to talk about anything in particular – simply knowing that there’s someone to talk to can be a powerful means of alleviating loneliness!
Look into Professional Support
If your disabled relative needs special support, then it’s worth checking in to ensure that the support hasn’t been interrupted by the virus. By talking to the provider on behalf of your relative, you might be eliminating a source of stress. With that said, it’s worth making sure that you do this with their permission, otherwise you risk overstepping the mark and actually creating more problems than you solve.
If you happen to live miles away from the person in question, then getting in support workers might be essential; but even if you don’t, professional help can be critical in aiding relatives with particular needs.