Caring for Someone with Special Needs? Here’s Some Help.

Making it easier to care for people with special needs.

Caring for a family member with special needs can be a lifetime commitment. Whether a stroke or other major health event causes a disability, or a condition is diagnosed while one is an infant, taking care of individuals with special needs comes with a unique array of challenges.

While there are no shortcuts or magical solutions, CaringBridge would like to share five suggestions that we hope will make your life easier.

1. Learn Everything You Can

Research the specific condition and the caregiving needs it creates. You can ask special needs professionals about how to accommodate your loved one’s challenges, question healthcare providers about outcomes, and talk with families who’ve been in your situation. You can also take a look at information-rich websites such as WebMD. Be sure, too, that others who help you with caregiving responsibilities are up-to-date on new developments.

2. Reach Out for Support — Locally or Online

Many groups provide services, support and information for those who care for special needs individuals. Communicate as much as possible. Networking with other families in your community will help you connect to these organizations. Asking for help from others is smart. Also available: online support groups.

 3. Become an Advocate for Your Loved One

The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and other laws spell out the rights of families caring for special needs individuals. In addition, keep current, accurate records of medical reports, insurance policies and payments, and other important documents and updates.

4. Take One Day at a Time

Feeling overwhelmed is inevitable. One way to keep things in perspective (and catch your breath) is to focus on today. Take it an hour at a time, if that works better for you. Keeping your goals realistic also helps, as does celebrating successes when you’ve achieved them.

5. Have a Plan

Establish a plan that details your caregiving responsibilities as early as possible. It’s important. Put required tasks down in writing and keep a consistent schedule — it will help your job become more routine and less challenging.

CaringBridge Sites feature a Planner – a handy calendar you can use to organize and share caregiving tasks like making meals, scheduling visitors, running errands, walking dogs…just about anything you need.

We’d love to hear your ideas and opinions too.
If you have other helpful insights or personal experiences about caring for special needs individuals, please share them here.

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gail studer Apr 03, 2013 10:50am
dear joyce..........I just found out how to send you a message!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been sending prayers your way every day since i found out about your horrible accident. i was so happy to turn on your Caring Bridge message and find that you had been moved, that is a sure sign that tihings are improving. I can only pray and wish you a speedy recovery. I will be there to visit you as soon as you are able to have guests, til then the prayers and love of my entire family are with you!!!!! love , GAIL
    Sally D. Apr 03, 2013 3:50pm
    Hi Gail, Your message looks like it may have been intended for Joyce’s Guestbook. To add your message to the Guestbook: 1. View Sara’s site. -Depending on the privacy level the family has chosen, you may be asked to log in or enter the site password. 2. Click ‘Guestbook’ from the site’s main menu. 3. Click ‘Sign My Guestbook.’ -If not already logged in, you will be asked to log in here. 4. Enter your message in the text editing box, and click ‘post.’ Your message will be instantly added to the Guestbook for the website author and other visitors to read. If you have trouble entering your message, please contact Customer Care. Thanks, Sally- CaringBridge Customer Care