A physical disability can impact a person’s life in many ways. For those helping a loved one living with a physical disability, you will be doing everything you can to meet their immediate needs. To many, this may mean prioritising tasks like washing, eating and cleaning, but actually socialising is just as important an area to prioritise.
In this article, we will explore the challenges of socialising with a physical disability, and what you can do to support your loved one to enjoy a healthy social life despite their disability.
Socialising with a physical disability presents a unique set of challenges that may be unrelatable to many people.
Before deciding whether or not to commit to a social occasion or outing, there are things to consider that non-disabled people would never have to think about. These include, but are not limited to:
When someone is living with a physical disability, socialising becomes more of a challenge and it can be easy to let this part of their lives slip. However, strong relationships and a healthy social life are vital to maintaining physical and mental health.
For those who want to help a loved one socialise, we have some tips for you:
Have an open and honest conversation with the person. Ask about their preferences, needs and comfort levels regarding socialising. This will help you tailor your support to their specific situation.
Asking questions is a natural way of finding out more about someone, but this may make someone with a visible disability feel uncomfortable. Help your loved one answer questions to educate ignorant people about their needs. This can reduce misunderstandings and create a more supportive environment.
Recognise that socialising with a disability can sometimes be challenging. Understand that your loved one will participate at their own pace and may require extra time to join in with activities.
There are many alternatives to traditional sports or hobbies. If your loved one is interested in sports, there may be a local disability group they can join. If they enjoy being in nature, help them find a route that is accessible for them.
When planning social events, consider activities that are inclusive and can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their physical abilities.
Look into helping them get involved in an online community. Socialising doesn’t have to be in person. The online world allows people to chat freely in a place where they are not limited by their disability. It is the perfect place to find and chat with like-minded people in similar situations and with similar experiences.
Help the person connect with local support groups or organisations that focus on their specific disabilities, as they may feel self-conscious or hesitant in social situations. Offer encouragement and support to boost their self-esteem or even offer to join them for their first visit.
Offer practical assistance when needed. This may include helping them navigate physical barriers like steps, providing transportation to a venue, or assisting with mobility aids. Bear in mind that planning is important to ensure the location you are going to meets your accessibility needs.
Sometimes people with physical disabilities may face unique emotional challenges, and simply having a supportive person they know they can talk to can make all the difference in the world.
Most venues in the UK help provide social activities for disabled people, whether it is disability sports or accessible venues and facilities.
Butterfly’s is based in Essex, so we have put together a list of services that can help people living with a physical disability socialise in our local area.
Butterfly’s Care Group is committed to providing our clients and families with an outstanding quality of care, communication and support in the local community. We have a team of fully trained, local carers who provide personal domiciliary home care and other services across Essex.
If you feel that the person you are helping is in need of more care than you can offer, contact us today to find out more.