Coping with Disability During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has forced all of us to change how we live. It has had an unprecedented impact on mental health, caused significant loss of life and seen millions of people lose their jobs. Now, according to recent studies, those with disabilities are at particular risk of suffering due to the pandemic.
It has been revealed that two thirds of those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus were living with some form of disability. As we head towards a second wave, the question is how can those with disabilities protect themselves?
Here, we’ll look at some of the things that can help the disabled during the pandemic.
Shielding where possible
One of the most confusing aspects of the pandemic for those living with disabilities, has been shielding guidelines. Vulnerable people were told to isolate themselves for weeks to keep themselves protected. The trouble is, those with disabilities have been unsure whether they fall into the vulnerable category.
The truth is, not everyone with disabilities is at an increased risk of developing Covid. Therefore, it is important to understand which disability groups are most at risk. Generally speaking, those with limited mobility, who cannot communicate symptoms they may be experiencing, and those who struggle to understand information provided are at a greater risk.
If you are deemed a high risk, shielding during lockdown is the best thing you can do.
Lean on friends and family
Whether you are shielding or not, leaning on friends and family can help you cope during these times.
Research has shown that the coronavirus is increasing mental health conditions in those with disabilities. This is down to a lack of resources available to those with special needs, alongside a lack of social networks.
Access to required medical supplies has been limited during the pandemic. However, it is the budget cuts which have really hit the disabled community. Throughout the pandemic, 68% of those living with disabilities saw their social care reduced by at least half. This means they have had to become more reliant on friends and family.
Guidelines allow friends and family to offer crucial support for those with disabilities. So, those struggling are encouraged to ask for support when they need it.
One of the best ways to cope throughout the pandemic when you’re living with disabilities is to prepare. This Includes:
- Planning alternative arrangements if your carer gets sick
- Ensuring you have adequate transportation
- Stock up on supplies to last a few weeks
If carers were to become sick, it would potentially leave those with disabilities stranded without any help at all. So, having a backup option is strongly advised.
One thing that is having a negative impact on those with disabilities, is not being able to get out. Public transportation is risky during the pandemic. This means seeking private disability friendly transportation is a good option. You can pick up modified vehicles from Allied Mobility, ensuring you can still get out of the house for some much-needed fresh air.
Finally, stocking up on groceries and household items can help. There have been a lot of issues where people with disabilities have been unable to get the shopping they need. Supermarkets are busier and online delivery slots get taken up quickly. Stocking up when you can will ensure you have everything you need until the restrictions lift.
Take advantage of online resources
While not everyone with disabilities is able to access the internet, those who can, should take advantage of online resources. The government has a long list of online resources you can look at.
These resources offer guidance on everything from shielding to funding. While disability funding has been cut this year, there are funding options in place for the most vulnerable.
You’ll also find there are a lot of support groups online. Disabled people who are able, are using social media to talk to those who are in a similar position. These groups can really aid with isolation, preventing the disabled from feeling too lonely and cut off from society.
Overall, the disabled sector has been severely let down by the government throughout the pandemic. Many have been left feeling like they have been forgotten. The above are just some of the ways disabled people can better cope with the pandemic. There is a lot of advice out there, it can just be difficult to find; particularly for those who struggle to use technology. That is why helps from friends and family is so important during these changing, difficult times.