Whether a permanent disability, a severe injury, an illness, or a mental health issue, an immobilizing condition can be emotionally devastating for the sufferer. Isolation can bleed into loneliness which can quickly turn into depression, all the while plummeting feelings of self-worth.
This can also be a very confusing situation for friends and family too. You may want to help but you’re unsure what it is you can do without crossing a line. Thankfully, there is a simple solution: show your love and support in small amounts until you gradually become the hand that they hold while they find their way back. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
1. Educate Yourself
Due to the wonders of the internet, it shouldn’t take too long to grasp the basics of what your loved one is going through. Read a few articles to understand their limitations, any commonly reported negative emotions, and the best ways in which you can help. This will place you in a much better position to assist without pestering.
2. Help With Appointments
In some cases, a hindered individual may be unable to drive to their checkups. In other cases, they won’t even be able to book the appointment themselves. This is an easy opening where you can step in. Ask about their medical arrangements and help them schedule, coordinate, and get to them all successfully.
3. Talk to Their Doctor
Take your involvement a step further by directly communicating with their doctor yourself (you will need to have your friend or loved one give their doctor’s office permission to speak with you). This will be the fastest route of extracting important information, such as the individual’s physical restrictions, the potential side effects of any medication, and the best ways in which you can assist in their rehabilitation. It also makes it easier to pick up the phone whenever you have uncertainties.
4. Keep an Eye on Their Medication
Depending on the injury or illness, your loved one may struggle to remember or even administer their own medication. In situations like this, it’s probably safest that you look at exact prescriptions and dosages with them and help sort them in a daily pill organizer.
5. Keep Them Active
Granted, the selection of activities may be limited due to their current circumstances. However, with a little bit of imagination, there is always a way to make a big difference. Look out for injury-specific yoga classes. Go for scenic strolls using a knee walker or a wheelchair. Research accessible events in the area. Or even if you can only get them outside for a few minutes, that fresh air alone will do wonders for their mood.
6. Don’t Let Them Push Too Hard
There is something respectable about determination, but as the saying goes, pride comes before a fall, and one small stumble can severely aggravate any physical injuries. Appreciate the fact that a loss of independence is always frustrating, but if they’re comfortable with it, try to be helpful by washing up their dishes, walking their dog, or doing their shopping.
7. Cook for Them
In times of injury, many people struggle to receive adequate nutrition due to the difficulty of cooking and feeding themselves. This is another practical way in which you can step up to the plate. A healthy diet is crucial in speeding up the recovery, so be sure to include omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, vitamin C for healing properties, protein for muscle rejuvenation, and zinc for an immunity boost, all the while stocking up on fresh fruit and vegetables.
8. Give Your Time
It may seem obvious on paper, but this can often be the one thing that so many burdened souls crave. Simply sit and chat. Listen to their troubles, and let them know that you are here for them. It’s all about providing the company needed in which to extinguish the loneliness.
9. Regular Acknowledgements
You have your own schedule and no one should expect you to drop everything at a moment’s notice. However, you can still maintain frequent contact by sending them messages, reminding them that you are there and thinking about them. Time may be running away from you, but for your friend, the hours might be achingly slow and boring. This simple action could make all the difference.
10. Build a Team
Finally, do not allow this responsibility to fall upon your conscience alone. Get in touch with other friends, family members, or organizations that your friend may be involved with, and figure out a way for everyone to play a role. As a larger team, each task can be rotated as the group takes it in turns to be the chef, the chauffeur, or the shoulder to cry on.