Caring For Someone With A Disability

Living with a disability can be incredibly challenging. However, so can caring for someone with a disability. Here we look at how to make life easier.


Living with a disability can be incredibly challenging. However, so can caring for someone with a disability. Here we look at how to make life easier.

If you’re an at-home carer, the good news is you’re certainly not alone. According to Carers UK, 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility each day. That’s over two million people a year, looking after someone who can’t always look after themselves. In fact, there are likely to be over 13 million people in the UK right now caring for someone they’re close to.

At Bluebird Care Worthing we offer respite care designed to give carers a much-needed rest once in a while. We also offer a physical disabilities care service for when care needs increase past the level you’re able to offer.

In this post, we share the knowledge and experience we’ve gained from both services, to help you with caring for a disabled person at home.

But before we go into our tips for caring for someone with a disability, we wanted to address the support you can receive for doing so.

What benefits can you claim for caring for someone?

Having the right financial aid can really take the edge off caring for a disabled person at home. Thankfully, people in the UK have access to a range of different benefits that offer that little bit of extra support.

They include:

  • A Carer’s Allowance of £67.60 a week if you care for someone for 35 hours a week or more.
  • Carer’s Credit, a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your NI record. You’re eligible for this if you care for someone at least 20 hours a week.
  • Disability Living Allowance for Children if you care for a disabled child. This allowance ranges from £23.60 to £151.40 a week.
  • Plus a Carer Premium, which is an additional premium on top of other benefits you can claim. The benefits you can claim the premium on include universal credit, income support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, employment support allowance, housing benefit, pension and tax credits, and council tax.

To learn more, visit the NHS page on Benefits for Carers.

Additionally, depending on your age and circumstances you may also be entitled to Pension Credit and additional local welfare assistance. See this page on Money Helper for more info.

A carer puts their hand reassuringly on the lap of someone in a wheelchair

Our tips for caring for someone with a disability

There is no set guide for how to care for someone with a disability. Each person is different, and different disabilities can affect people in different ways.

However, these are the things you can do across the board to help make life as a carer that little bit easier – for both you, and the person you’re caring for.

1. Take time to understand their illness

The term ‘disability’ is wide and varied. A person with an artificial hip will have different challenges to someone dealing with dementia or living with Multiple Sclerosis. The root causes are also likely to affect people’s moods in different ways. Our first tip for caring for someone with a disability is therefore to research the disability itself and understand the challenges it’s likely to present. This can help you empathise more with your loved one, and also aid you in dealing with challenging behaviours that can happen when the condition makes things difficult.

2. Focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities

When caring for a disabled person at home, it’s easy to focus on what a disabled person cannot do and do it for them. However, it’s important to bear in mind that you can’t spell ‘disabled’ without ‘abled,’ and that there are likely to be things they are capable of doing. So, instead of simply doing everything you can, try encouraging your charge do as much of the things they can as possible, and only step in when they really need aid. You might meet some resistance at first – especially if they’ve developed a dependent mindset. But the more you can encourage them to take ownership for their own life, the better and more empowered they’ll feel about themselves.

Being a team here can really feel powerful. Whether you chop the veg and let them toss the salad themselves, or you support them for a walk around a local park rather than simply pushing them in a wheelchair, giving disabled people as much agency as possible is brilliant for both their physical health and mental wellbeing. Just as importantly, it will make you feel great to see their face light up when they achieve something they weren’t sure they could do!

3. Respect their physical boundaries

Another important part of giving a disabled person agency involves keeping clear boundaries between caregiver and receiver.

For instance, if you can see they need physical support, rather than simply taking their arm, ask them if they mind you doing so. Likewise, if they need picking up, first of all learn how to do so in a way that’s respectful, and prevents possible injuries. Following both of these tips for caring for someone with a disability early on can help to earn their trust, which will make all of your future interactions that much easier.

Of course, when someone develops a disability, or a disability worsens, you might need to look at making adjustments to their home to help them move about and live safely when you aren’t there. This is another boundary, because it’s ultimately their living space and so it’s important to go about it in a respectful way. Include your loved one in the decision-making process, ask for their opinions, and if possible, come up with a plan together.

4. Think ahead

A female carer puts their hand reassuringly on the shoulder of a man in a wheelchair, who smiles back at her

Whether physical or mental, disabilities present unexpected challenges each and every day. Planning for emergencies in advance can enable you to respond as well as possible to the unexpected, and will also have the extra benefit of helping you to feel positive and proactive, rather than at the mercy of a hopeless situation.

Another solid tip for caring for someone with a disability is to attend health appointments with your charge where possible, taking a list of questions with you so that you can be fully informed for what may be to come. It may feel slightly invasive for your loved one to have you in the room with the doctor discussing their condition but it can hugely help you to offer them better care on a daily basis. Once you’ve explained that, there are very few people who won’t see the sense in letting you go along.

Another thing you might want to think ahead about is making legal arrangements. For instance, has your loved one made a Will? Do you know who will have power of attorney if they get to a stage where they aren’t able to make decisions? While this might be the sadder side of caring for someone with a disability, avoiding these subjects tends to make things harder in the long run. In our experience, you’re likely to find they will appreciate knowing that their after-life legacy is taken care of.

5. Look after yourself, too!

You may feel the weight of looking after a loved one, but the reality is you can’t care for anyone if you’re run into the ground. Likewise, caring means giving a lot, which on a mental health level can leave you feeling unhappy and resentful if you don’t look after your own welfare and happiness as well.

One of the best things you can do when caring for someone with a disability is therefore (somewhat paradoxically), taking time for yourself. As outlined in our blog ‘The We In Wellbeing,’ being active has a host of health benefits, so developing an exercise routine, or simply taking regular walks in nature, can give you more energy and boost your mood – making it easier to deal with your day-to-day caring responsibilities.

Connecting to others can also be a big difference maker. Getting some social support from people who truly understand your situation can be a game-changer if you’re feeling down and overwhelmed. Reaching out to a friend might be your first port of call, but if you find nobody quite gets it, specialist charities like Carers Trust, Carers UK and Carers First might all be worth a call for some friendly help and support. If it all gets too much at times, Samaritans are always there, too.

Finally, if caring for a disabled person at home starts to get on top of you, there’s always the option to take a break. That could mean taking your loved one out for a day trip, or taking some time away from caring with a respite care break. Either way, putting yourself first may feel selfish, but you’ll find that a refreshed, happier you is much better for your loved one too.

Do you have the heart to look after others for a living?

Caring for someone is rarely straightforward, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. If you have the caring bone in your body, and you’re thinking about moving into care as a career, we’d love to hear from you.

Check out the blogs below to find out more about life as a carer, or get in touch with us to have a chat about what the role entails.

Already convinced caring could be for you? Visit our Worthing carer jobs page to see our open roles.


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