Millions of people live with a disability in the United States.
In fact, roughly 13% of Americans have one form of disability or another.
Knowing you’re not alone with your disability may be reassuring. But it doesn’t necessarily improve the situation. The fact of the matter is that disability makes life difficult.
That’s never truer than when you were once able-bodied and wholly healthy. Getting used to living with a disability can take time.
However, it’s absolutely possible to live a fulfilled and happy life as a disabled person. We want to offer some tips and inspiration on how to live your best life from now on.
Keep reading for 6 tips on doing exactly that!
1. Seek Support
Adapting to a disability takes time.
Chances are, you’ll need some practical support as you adjust to your new circumstances. You might even need ongoing input.
This can be hard to ask for when you’re a proud and independent person. After all, you’re used to doing everything for yourself. Asking for help might not come naturally.
However, there’s nothing wrong with receiving a helping hand, both physically and financially. This is why disability insurance schemes, such as NDIS (check out the NDIS Services Basics) are there to assist those who need financial help. Certain tasks and responsibilities may simply be unfeasible. Bringing in outside support can solve the problem and make your life that bit easier.
Friends and family are often a good source of help. However, trained independent living professionals are often a better option. They know what they’re doing and can help find the balance between what you can do yourself and what you need help with.
There may be local organizations who can provide the support you need. Indeed, you may be eligible for insurance claims too. Be sure to speak with a disability insurance lawyer for help in this department.
2. Consider Moving Property and Area
Again, this may not be an appealing idea.
But moving to a new house in a new area can have a host of benefits. Your current property may be ill-suited to someone with a disability. Imagine someone in a wheelchair living in a house with stepped access to the property.
Similarly, the indoors may be cramped and cluttered, with lots of obstacles to navigate. The bathroom may not be fitted with any disability support.
Likewise, you may be positioned far from hospitals and organizations that can offer support.
Moving property can provide a solution to these issues.
3. Give Yourself Time to Adjust
Be kind to yourself. Exercise self-compassion at every opportunity.
Give yourself time to mourn the loss of your previous life. Your newly acquired disability represents a huge loss. Adjusting to your new circumstances isn’t easy. Like suffering a bereavement, you need time to grieve.
It’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling. It can be tempting to ignore negative feelings or push them to one side. You’re entitled to feel the way you do. Judging yourself negatively will only exacerbate the problem.
Know that things will get better. You can absolutely adapt and overcome this challenge. You’re likely to get there much quicker if you exercise self-compassion in the process.
4. Practice Empowerment
The immediate aftermath of a new disability is always difficult.
It can feel like you can no longer do anything you previously took for granted. It can be deeply challenging to ask for help and support. Focusing on the downsides is totally natural.
You hone in on what you’ve lost and the capabilities you’ve left behind.
If you can, try to remind yourself of the things you can still do. Focusing on the positive can help balance out the negative side of your predicament.
It’s empowering to realize that your disability doesn’t define you. There are, in fact, all manner of things available to you. Your disability is a hurdle to overcome, not a roadblock that stops you moving forward.
5. Embrace Life-Enhancing Technologies
Adapting to disability often entails finding workarounds to problems.
You quickly realize that you can do far more than you first thought. You just have to do them in a different way. This is where technology can play an enormous role.
These days, all sorts of technology and tools have been developed to support disabled people. There’s equipment to help people get dressed, use the bathroom, cook their meals, get around more easily, and so on.
One basic example is that of a high-end powered wheelchair. These life-enhancing pieces of dynamic technology promote newfound independence and freedom. They can also help you change posture. This leads to greater comfort and reduced pain from prolonged periods in the chair.
Try doing some research. What areas of life do you now struggle with most? What technology is available that might help? Incorporating it into your daily routine may significantly improve your level of independence and quality of life.
6. Look for Meaning and Purpose
As the old saying goes, when one door closes another opens.
You are by no means restricted to a substandard existence as a result of your disability.
You never know, you may discover all manner of new talents and skills you never knew about. Try and find new activities, hobbies, and ventures to get involved in. A sense of progress trumps any form of negativity. It provides a vital means of overcoming adversity.
You can still partake in sports, arts, education, volunteering, and so on. You could start a blog detailing your experience. You could write a book. You could turn your attention to any intellectual endeavor of interest.
Try looking out for the doors that have opened, rather than focusing on those that have closed. You can absolutely find opportunities to instill your life with meaning and purpose.
Final Thoughts on Living with a Disability
There you have it: some reassuring tips on living with a disability.
Millions of people live with a disability around the United States. Adapting to a disability and the new way of life isn’t easy though. The change to circumstances can take time to get used to. You can guarantee a fair share of ups and downs along the way.
However, having a disability shouldn’t entail a diminished existence. It’ll be different, for sure. But, as we’ve noted, you can absolutely find joy and meaning.
For anyone who has recently become disabled, we hope these tips will help you contend with the challenge ahead, and find positivity at the end of it.
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