Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dealing with Lately Disabled People

You may need an extra supply of tact and generosity with a friend or acquaintance who has become disabled later in life, possibly because of Meniere’s disease, lupus, or multiple sclerosis. Often, you may know of such disabilities only if the person actually tells you.
One of the most common reactions among the lately disabled is a feeling of extreme self-consciousness in the company of able-bodied persons. The lately disabled are acutely sensitive to pity from others.
The lately disabled may also suffer from a loss of self-esteem. They may have lost their jobs and are worried about money. Keep in mind that they are unable to do many of the things that once defined them in their own minds—things that were part of their sense of self-worth.
They may also be suffering from depression, grieving for the person they once were, and struggling toward a realization of the new person they now must be. The lately disabled may also experience boredom and wish for structure. You can help by getting them involved in activities, particularly those activities that involve exercise. Provide structure by offering to make appointments or arrangements for certain definite times and sticking to the plan.
Therefore, be prepared for displays of bad temper and frustration. And don’t take them personally.

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