Posted on: 30 October 2015
Recently, the Hooper family from New Zealand made international headlines with their decision to seek surgical and hormonal treatment for their severely disabled child. This treatment is preventing her from growing any larger and going through puberty, and has been done in an effort to make it easier for the Hoopers to continue caring for her as she grows into adulthood. If you are the parent of a severely disabled child, you have undoubtedly considered how you will cope in the future, once your child is an adult. It is vital that you continue to meet your own needs so you can better meet the needs of your adult child. Here are some ideas and considerations to keep in mind for your own well-being if you would like to provide care to your child in your home.
Meet Your Physical Needs
As you get older, it will be more difficult for you to assist your adult child with basic daily tasks, such as dressing, toileting and moving from a bed to a chair. The Hooper family chose to rely on hormonal treatments to keep their daughter a manageable size, but you can make this type of care possible by learning good body mechanics and, if necessary, using equipment to help bear the physical brunt of the work.
The National Caregivers Library suggests bending from the hips and knees, keeping your back straight while lifting. Use a transfer belt if it helps you avoid back injury. If you are unable to lift your adult child, transfer devices can mean the difference between you being able to provide proper care at home and having to place your child in a residential treatment center. Your child's medical insurance might cover a transfer device, so be sure to ask.
Aside from being sure that you can safely lift and transport your child, it's also important to keep yourself healthy by following a good diet, getting regular exercise and seeing your own doctors as needed. It can be easy to focus on your child's health, but don't let that lead to the detriment of your own health.
Meet Your Emotional and Social Needs
Caregiving can be exhausting and extremely time-consuming. If you have an underage child, he or she likely attends school or daycare for at least part of the day. Once your child becomes an adult, though, this option might not be available, which means you'll be responsible for his or her care almost all of the time. It's important to identify people in your community who can help. This can include a circle of friends and family, as well as hired help, such as a visiting nurse or an in-home adult daycare provider.
In addition to making sure that you have a reprieve, it's often helpful to join a support group. If you have not already done so, talk to your child's doctors or, if applicable, social worker, to find a group of caregivers of adult children who have disabilities that require a lot of care. If your child is not mobile, you will have very different concerns than a parent who is caring for a mildly disabled adult child, so don't feel bad about deciding that a particular group will not meet your needs. Keep looking until you find the support you need.
Deciding to care for a severely disabled adult child in your home can be a large undertaking. Getting in touch with a healthcare agency, such as Always Dependable, that specializes in providing at-home services can allow you to meet your child's needs while also attending to your own. Don't be afraid to ask for the help you need to continue to provide for your child as he or she gets older; remember that you are also getting older, and have to take care of your own health, too.Share