Main Office: 01206 866 252
Domiciliary Care Office: 01206 583 743
Man in wheelchair socialising with his friends, playing basketball

How to Help Someone With a Physical Disability Socialise

19 September 2023

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.

What are the challenges of socialising with a physical 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:

  • Limited mobility: Someone living with a physical disability may be dealing with mobility issues that could affect their attendance at a social occasion.
  • Limited access in certain places: They may be considering whether a location is wheelchair-accessible or whether there will be guaranteed seating.
  • Fear of being a burden: When socialising with friends or family members, the last thing anyone wants to worry about is being a burden. Someone living with a physical disability may think it would be easier on everyone else if they didn't attend a social event.
  • Lack of energy or chronic pain: It may be that your loved one feels that due to their symptoms, they won't be able to socialise for long, so there’s no point in going out.
  • Feeling like people can’t relate: It can be difficult for disabled people to socialise with non-disabled people as they would never be able to understand their limitations. Regardless of these challenges, always invite your less physically able family, friends or colleagues to social occasions. It is their choice whether or not to attend, even if it means they require additional support.

Socialising with a physical disability

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:

Ask for their input

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.

Help them to answer questions

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.

Be patient

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.

Plan inclusive 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.

Use technology

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.

Connect with support groups

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.

Assist with logistics

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.

Offer emotional support

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.

What activities are available for disabled people?

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.

Get help with your physical disability in Essex

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.

Talk to us

We are more than happy to speak to you regarding any of our services or for some general advice.
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01206 866 252

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