Disability continues to rise in numbers. In the United States alone, around 8.1 million people receive a disability check from the government. With an increasing number of people living with disabilities, this also means that disability and community support workers are in high demand.
15% of the world’s population has some form of disability, and around two to four percent of that number have difficulties with day-to-day activities, requiring them to have some form of assistance. One’s disability may render people to be unable to live independently. These disabilities could be the following:
- Vision impairment
- Hearing disabilities
- Psychological disorders
- Cognitive disability
- Physical disability
Providing disability support is a great opportunity for people who love to care for or have a genuine concern for people with physical limitations. If you wish to take on the responsibility, below are the roles of a disability and community support worker that you need to know about:
- Provide Personal Care
Many individuals with physical disabilities have challenges performing simple tasks, including activities for personal hygiene. Some find it difficult to take a bath because of muscle spasticity, which can be extremely painful.
As a disability support worker, you will be tasked with cleaning and grooming disabled individuals to make sure their personal hygiene is cared for and maintained. This helps them feel clean, be confident to face other people, and avoid exposure to certain infections and illnesses that could further affect their condition.
You may also help them get dressed and perform other routine tasks. However, the job is not as easy as bathing, cleaning, and dressing them up. You also have to do it with understanding and compassion and in a way that keeps their dignity intact. As a disability worker, you need to make the individual feel that it’s okay and you’re there to help without judgment.
- Assist With Medication Intake
Many disabled individuals cannot remember the medications they need to take, or how often they must take each medicine. As a disability worker, you will be responsible for administering medication at a specific time and frequency to ensure the health and wellness of the person you’re caring for.
Concerning this, you may be tasked to monitor the individual’s progress and submit reports to your department for monitoring.
- Provide Domestic Assistance
Some people with disabilities can live independently and take care of themselves, but they may need help with household chores and meal preparation. You may help them plan their meal for the week and assist them when they go grocery shopping. Keeping their house clean could also be another responsibility. This includes cleaning their bathroom, doing laundry, mopping floors, and maintaining their lawn or garden.
- Provide Mobility Assistance
Persons with disabilities will usually have trouble driving a car due to their physical limitations. Hence, they need someone who can transport them from one place to another. This includes going to medical appointments, going to certain stores, and even visiting family and friends. Driving them to different places or helping them get out of the house could benefit them a lot. Seeing other people and experiencing nature could give their health a boost.
- Engage In Recreational Activities
To keep their day busy and give them something to do, you may expose them to various recreational activities that suit their capabilities. You may teach them to play chess, board games, and watch movies together. Or if they prefer to go outside to mingle with others, you may accompany them to the park and maybe engage in Tai Chi or Yoga with other people.
- Provide Emotional Support
Living with a disability can be frustrating at times. Some develop anxiety or depression as a result of their disability. As a disability support worker, you may help in this aspect. You may do this by providing a listening ear and hearing their heart out.
Many disabled individuals feel worthless and rejected by others, including their own families. Allowing them to say what they feel, giving them a safe space to blurt out their feelings without judgment, and giving your 100% undivided attention will make them feel valued and take the heaviness off their chest. This could immensely help with their emotional healing and may eventually allow them to adjust to their new life.
If you have the heart to care for people with disabilities, you can make a career out of it. The demand for disability and community support workers worldwide is continuing to increase. It is not an easy job, and it may even demand your full attention 24/7, but it can give you a sense of fulfillment and pride—especially when you see the individual happier and more comfortable in their situation.