Caring for someone with physical disabilities
Looking after someone with a physical disability can be physically demanding for you as a carer. An important part of your role is to make sure the person you care for has the best quality of life possible by helping them to be as independent as possible.
Anyone can become physically disabled, suddenly through accident, or gradually through illness, and some people are disabled from birth.
Getting peer support
Speaking to people who are facing similar challenges to you can help you make sense of things. Having a network of people who you can turn to for advice and support can be very helpful.
You can use the carers directory to look for carers support groups and social activities in your area. There are also details of telephone helplines and online support groups for carers on the online carers communities and advice lines information page.
Moving and handling
Derbyshire County Council Adult Care's moving and handling team provide free training for carers. You can learn safe techniques to prevent injury. They also provide the opportunity for carers and the people they care for to 'try out' new pieces of equipment. The moving and handling team is based at The Hub in South Normanton, but offer training at other venues around the county. Please call Tel: 01629 531492 for further information.
There are dedicated organisations and charities to support people with physical disabilities and their carers. Many are excellent sources of information and advice - you'll find links to some on this page.
As a carer, it's important that you look after your own health and wellbeing, particularly if your role requires a lot of physical moving and handling tasks. The health and wellbeing page has details of services to help you stay fit and healthy as well as emotional support services.
If the person you care for acquired their physical disability suddenly it's likely that they'll struggle to deal with the change to their lifestyle. This is totally normal but the fact you are now their carer may affect your relationship with them. You may wish to get advice or use a counselling service to help you both through it.
People with physical disabilities often have to attend many health and social care appointments and as a carer you might have a lot of questions you want to ask. It may help to write down your questions before any appointments with professionals and take someone with you.
Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust have produced a card to help you think about what you want to say before you attend a meeting with a professional. It's important that you are get the answers to all your questions, so if there's anything that you are unsure of, don't be afraid to ask again.
Getting out and about
Getting out and about can be one of the most important issues facing those with physical disabilities. Access to suitable, accessible transport and mobility support can make your role as a carer more manageable.
- Derbyshire Blue Badge Scheme
- Motability Car and Scooter Scheme
- search the Carers Directory for local community transport services
- Gov.uk - transport if you're disabled
Getting out and visiting attractions is good for your wellbeing and also benefits the person you care for. But if you care for someone who is physically disabled it can be difficult because some local activities and locations aren't accessible to disabled people, particularly in the hilly Peak District.
Local charity Accessible Derbyshire aim to improve the lives of disabled people and their carers by helping them find accessible leisure and tourism activities in the area. Their website provides details of accessible days out, scenic drives and picnic spots and they also have information about local holiday lets that are accessible to disabled people.
Derbyshire Sport works with a whole host of partners to ensure an inclusive approach is taken to physical activity and sport across the county. The Active and Inclusive section of their website has details of clubs, events and activities for disabled people and their carers including wheelchair basketball and inclusive training.
Derbyshire Coalition for Inclusive Living
Disability Derbyshire Coalition for Inclusive Living (DCIL) provides services including peer counselling and Direct Payments support for disabled people and their families. They also offer wellbeing support groups for people going through depression or anxiety. You can find details of the groups in the Carers Directory.
Leonard Cheshire support many disabled people in Derbyshire and the rest of the UK to have the freedom to live their lives the way they choose offering a range of care and support services. Their expertise includes:
- Accommodation services – including supported living, registered care homes and specialist acquired brain injury rehabilitation services.
- Personalised care and support services, including registered care in people’s own homes.
- Social, education and leisure services – including day support, community outreach services, respite support and accessible holidays.
Leonard Cheshire also run activity groups for people with disabilities. The person you care for will be allocated a key worker to support them while they are at the group so you can get a break for a few hours.
Staff at the groups will be happy to support you with any issues or questions you may have and, if they can't help, will point you in the direction of someone who can. The service is split into north and south:
North Derbyshire Community Support Service - contact Kay and team on tel: 01246 268454
South Derbyshire Community Support Service - contact Liz and team on tel: 01773 521427.
Other helpful websites
- NHS Choices - living with disability
- Contact a Family - support for parents and carers of disabled children
- Derbyshire County Council - disabled children
- Gov.uk - disabled people
- Scope - disability
- Derbyshire County Council - aids, equipment, telecare and adaptations
- Ask SARA - aids and equipment
- Disability Rights UK
- NHS Choices - moving and handling
- Ability Net - technology for people with disabilities
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