You take care of yourself and live a healthy lifestyle. You avoid risks as much as possible. But, accidents and injuries can still happen to us all. More than 1 in 4 people in their twenties are at risk of being made unable to work for a year or longer because of medical conditions and injuries. For many, disability becomes a new way of life. The feeling of your independence shrinking can be one of the most startling points of the transition. Is there any way to fight to get your independence back after a long term injury?
Be active in your treatment
Whether you aim to recover and rehabilitate as well as possible, or make efforts to control your condition, cooperating with your healthcare team is essential. You should be more than a patient, you should aim to be a partner. For instance, ask more about tests or the physiotherapy you might be prescribed. This will show your healthcare team that you are engaged and motivated. Then, they will be likely to match your attitude. If you have multiple sources of healthcare, keep records so that you can make your care as consistent as possible.
Make the necessary changes
If your long term injury or condition introduces new barriers to your ability to live or act unaided in the home, then you have to address those barriers. Find new ways to carry out old tasks or install home medical supplies in the problem areas. For instance, if you have trouble getting into the shower, a transfer shower bench can help make it much more accessible. If you’re unable to walk long distances, look into the potential of a power scooter. This will make it much easier for you to get around unaided. Even if your family or friends are more than willing to help, there’s a real self-esteem boost to be able to do most of the things you were once able to by yourself.
Get in control
There may be elements of life that you are able to, and need to, get more control over. For instance, even if you have long-term disability insurance and savings, the costs of such a big adjustment can quickly grow. Exerting more control over your finances with the help of a budgeting app might be essential for your future security. What’s more, money is one of the biggest markers of independence in our lives. How we use it dictates how we live our lives. You will gain the confidence of knowing that your money is well accounted for. Plus, you can feel a lot less guilty about discretionary expenditures since you know whether or not any expenses will fit in your budget.
Stress can become a huge factor when coping with disability. From differences in how others treat you to the barriers to independence you might face in your everyday life, it’s undeniable that it can take a toll on your mental health. Seek professional help and support from your friends and family can be hugely useful. But, learning new methods practicing self-care can give you a lot more control over your emotions even when facing significant hurdles. Mindfulness exercises are an example of the tools you can use to gain a little more control over your own mind.
Having friends, family, and professional counselors can help us share the significant emotional and practical burdens we face, at first. However, there is something to be said for finding advice from those who share your predicaments. There’s a wide range of support groups for adults with disabilities. Share your experiences with living with your long term injury. By listening to people in a similar situation to yours can help you gain a little perspective. Furthermore, you will gain the ability to receive and give empathy to those who truly know your struggles. What’s more, there may even be helpful and practical advice on how you can live independently, suited to your specific barriers.
Adapt in your work
Working after a long term injury or disability is not an option or advisable for everyone. Knowing whether it is safe to try and do so is crucial. You should inform your healthcare providers in your decision. However, if a return to work is possible, talking with your employer can help you both find the adaptations that are necessary to help you gain your sense of self-sufficiency back. You may, however, find that new direction is a lot more practical. For instance, if a commute is no longer an option for you, the many opportunities to work online from home can be just the alternative that you need. There’s a huge world of remote work growing online. However, if you do plan to work from home, you need to discuss it with your healthcare team, especially in regard to the posture and ergonomics concerns.
Maintain your connection to the community
Many people living with a disability or recovering from a severe long term injury can find that loneliness and isolation are amongst some of the biggest barriers of all. You might not be able to readily enjoy the social activities you once did. So, finding replacements and new social opportunities can be crucial to help you feel like you’re still a part of the community. One of those opportunities may be volunteering. Many volunteering organizations are incredibly open to adults living with disabilities. They can even apply for and receive state funding to help adapt them to their new lifestyle. Besides the chance to make new acquaintances and friends with the same values as you, it’s always reaffirming to know that you are actively and directly benefiting others with your actions.
Whether you’re coping with a relatively short term disability or the lifelong consequences of an injury, knowing your limits and knowing where you can adapt is crucial. You may not have the ability to live 100% as independently as you would like. However, you can fight for more independence and more self-sustainability with the right advice.
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