How to prepare for a progressive disability

man in wheelchair image by jimcox40 from

A progressive disability is one that is expected to worsen. Well-known examples of progressive illnesses include multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, Huntington's chorea, muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer's disease.

There are no cures for any of these conditions, so it's important to prepare for a disability in the correct way.

Think of the physical realities of your disability. Make sure your living space has sufficient room for equipment that you might eventually need, such as crutches, wheelchair or an elevator. Keep in mind that you might have to move to a more suitable place.

Install handles or rails where you might need them, such as next to a bath or toilet or next to stairs. A stair lift may also be necessary.

Purchase household utensils that will be easier for someone with your disability. A huge range of these is available, from spoons to teakettles.

Find someone to help you, if it's at all possible. If you're lucky you will have a partner or family member close at hand; if not, try to find a friend. You may have to hire a health-care professional if you have not close relations or acquaintances.

Keep a positive mental attitude. Try to keep up with hobbies if you are able to, and keep a lively mind. Follow current affairs and the going-ons of your family members. Volunteer for charity work or a community project. Seek out others with the same disability in support groups or forums online. Remember, depression can compromise the immune system, so it's healthy to stay positive.

Tell your family and friends about your illness. Educate them so that they will understand what it is that you are going through and will be able to help.