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People with Disabilities, Family and Financial Hard Times

  • Synopsis: Published: 2012-05-06 (Rev. 2017-06-03) - Economic stability affects people with disabilities and family members whether a person with a disability is living independently or in long-term care. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Wendy Taormina-Weiss at Disabled World.

Main Document

"While financial hard times affect people with disabilities, family members and our friends - there are solutions and things we can do in order to ride out the difficulties."

When family members struggle to make ends meet during difficult economic times, their abilities to assist loved ones with disabilities may be reduced in a number of ways.

The inability to live comfortably on a financial level might find family members and their loved ones with disabilities lacking the ability to interact with one-another, leading to separation of families, stress, and even depression. Economic stability has the potential to affect people with disabilities and family members whether a person with a disability is living independently, with their family members, or in long-term care.

The costs for nearly everything have gone up very noticeably. Everything from the cost of food, gasoline, and rent to the cost of utilities has risen. The result is that family members and people with disabilities ourselves have fewer financial resources available to us to interact with each other. Family members have fewer resources available to assist loved ones with disabilities.

Effects on People with Disabilities Living Independently

People with disabilities often times prize the ability to live independently. For many of us, living independently is something to be cherished, yet living an independent life does not mean we want to be isolated from our family members, or find ourselves with a diminished ability to interact with them. We want to have the ability to freely travel to meet with our family members, bring food to eat with them, and spend time with our family for example.

We already face enough challenges related to transportation, financial restrictions imposed by the Social Security Administration, and physical and other forms of disabilities. When the economy intervenes and finds us facing rising costs in relation to nearly every other aspect of living, the challenges in relation to the ability to interact with family members and friends can become overwhelming.

The same is true for our family members, many of whom are trying to provide some level of assistance to us. When a family member faces the rising costs of gasoline, food, or other items they need in order to provide assistance to a loved one who experiences a form of disability who is living independently, that family member can also find themselves facing the potential inability to continue assisting their loved one with a disability for financial reasons. From what I understand, the average income in America is around $24,000 a year; not exactly something to be considered, 'wealthy.'

Solutions:

While the telephone does not provide face-to-face contact, it is a means of, 'keeping in touch.' For people with disabilities who have the ability to use a telephone, it can help to maintain relationships with family members and friends. Even though a phone is now considered a simple type of technology, it can help to keep families together on some level during rough financial times when they are unable to meet with each other physically.

The United States Mail is a way to send items to family members and friends. While it is not the same as giving something to a family member or friend personally, it does give people the ability to exchange items without having to use transportation to do it, along with the costs associated with transportation. The same is true of other delivery services such as UPS.

Social networking helps people with disabilities, family members and friends stay connected when they are unable to meet in person. Social sites such as the Disabled World Community, Twitter, or Facebook permit people to post pictures, messages, and links to articles about the things that are going on in their lives. The ability to pursue these activities through social sites on the Internet can help families and friends to keep up-to-date on how each other are doing when they are unable to meet personally.

A better solution involves the use of a home computer and a web cam. For people with disabilities, family members and friends who have these types of technology available to them - it can mean visual and auditory contact with each other through a broadband connection. The ability to see and hear your loved ones helps immensely during economic tough times. A great many homes in America have a personal computer, and a web cam is fairly inexpensive.

Effects on People with Disabilities Living With Family Members

A number of people who experience a form of disability find themselves living with their family members due to financial reasons. When the economy suffers, so does the entire family - including the person with a disability. For the family member with a disability, financial hard times may lead to feelings of, 'not contributing,' to the level needed or other emotional difficulties on top of the disability the person already experiences.

Other family members where a loved one with a disability lives at home may feel the same way during financial hard times. Breakdowns in families can be the result, with arguments and other emotional fall-back occurring. The simple fact is that it is the economy and increases in the costs of living that is at fault - not the person with a disability or the other members of the family.

Solutions:

A family is a whole; it is an entire unit of people living together as one group with a common goal of sharing resources and enjoying life together. People in the family contribute to the ability they are able and everyone lives together to the best of their ability. The focus is not on who contributes the most financially - family members contribute in multiple ways.

For example; some family members contribute more financially, yet other family members may keep the house clean. Other family members may do the shopping, while others might do the laundry. Some may clean up after the family pets, or mow the lawn. Each family has unique delegation of duties, with every family member doing something that contributes to the well-being of the entire family.

During financial hard times it is particularly important to remember the contributions each family member makes while understanding the importance of those contributions. Family members who experience forms of disabilities contribute to the best of their abilities, just as the non-disabled family members do. Love, patience, and respect for one-another are the key to keeping the family strong through financial strife.

People with Disabilities Living in Long-term Care

Families who have loved ones living in long-term care or other institutions may find themselves wanting to make potentially unwise decisions based upon economic needs during financial hard times. For example; a family member who is the Power of Attorney over a loved one who is in long-term care may request a review of their loved one's medications in an attempt to reduce the medications their loved one is on with the goal of lowering the costs of providing care. Doing so may have drastic results for their loved one.

In another example, a family member may even choose to move their loved one from one facility to another, or opt to cut back the level of care their loved one receives in a wholesale manner in an attempt to save money. The results for their family member with disabilities can be disastrous. A family member might opt to remove a loved one with advanced Alzheimer's from an assisted living facility; for example, and attempt to provide care for them at home thinking the costs will be lower, without taking into consideration the level of care their loved one will receive, or their safety.

Please understand this writer will always promote the independence of people with disabilities. I feel the Community First Choice Option is a wonderful one - it gives us the option to choose to live in our own communities and homes; something that is as it should be. Institutions are not the places for a great many people with disabilities. I also understand; however, that for some people with disabilities, living in a nursing home or assisted living facility truly is a better option.

Solutions:

The financial situations family members of loved ones with disabilities who reside in long-term care or assisted living facilities face at times can be trying; particularly during economically tough times. Among the things family members can do include:

  • Medicare:

    If your loved one with a disability is not already on Medicare and is eligible, start the process to get them on the program.

  • Medicaid:

    Again - if your loved one with a disability is not already on Medicaid and is eligible; begin the process to get them on the program.

  • Generic Medications:

    If you decide to pursue a medication review in order to save money, you might consider pursuing generic medications instead of cutting the medications your loved one with a disability is taking and needs.

  • Do Your Research:

    If you are going to move your loved one with a disability to another facility in an attempt to save money - do your research first. What is the facility like? Do they provide adequate care? Will your loved one be safe there? What did the state have to say about the facility on their last review? Is the facility clean? Are the staff members friendly? How many staff members have come and gone in the last year? Were there any instances of abuse at this facility? How many people have wandered off of the property in the last year? Were there any health violations in the last year

  • If You Decide to Bring Your Loved One Home:

    Deciding to bring your loved one home from a facility means you must either be very sure you can provide care for your loved one yourself, or you must already have home care services in place for them. People with disabilities who need the services of a long-term care or assisted living facility whose family members decide to bring them home to receive care in an attempt to save money Must Have This in Place.

While financial hard times affect people with disabilities, family members and our friends - there are solutions and things we can do in order to ride out the difficulties. Keeping in touch, loving each other, and providing care do not have to stop during economically rough times. With the understanding that hard decisions may have to be made at times, there are things we can do to maintain families and friendships.



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