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Tips for Living with a Disability as a Senior

Last updated: March 25, 2024

Moving from one’s middle ages to seniority is a transition that comes with many health challenges. And if you’re dealing with a disability on top of that, it can be all the more difficult.

While you can’t magically rewind the clock, you can still live a satisfying life.

It’s unfortunately very easy to slip into feelings of depression and helplessness when you’re struggling with mobility or mental issues. In fact, 1 out of 3 disabled adults face mental distress every day.

However, living a happy life with a disability is completely possible.

Without further ado, here are some tips to live a healthier and happier life as a disabled senior.

Be in Touch With Your Physician

Maintaining good health should be priority number one for disabled seniors. If you’re dealing with a complex disability or chronic health problems, you should have a physician or specialist doctor oversee your condition regularly.

Having a dedicated general physician is also ideal since they can track the progress of your health and your condition. They know what habits work and what doesn’t work, and they can make the right lifestyle adjustments to fit your case.

Furthermore, physicians are trained to recognise your symptoms and the timeline of your disability. They know when your health is starting to go downhill and can tailor medical advice to account for such drastic changes. 

In short, physicians help keep your health at bay. Even if you don’t see them too often, having them a phone call or email away can give you peace of mind knowing that an expert is just within reach.

Join Support Groups and Speak Up

Living with a disability can be lonely, especially if your disability is rare or life-threatening. While you likely have a partner, relatives, and a doctor who takes care of certain aspects of your needs, they can’t really understand the full breadth of living with your condition.  

This gap of misunderstanding can be tough to get through mentally. To help you overcome that feeling of isolation, you can find a local community that deals with the same or similar conditions. 

There are usually support groups that meet monthly or bi-weekly that talk about the pains of dealing with the same disability that you have. 

The circle is accepting of everyone, from younger folks to older people and it can be somewhat comforting knowing that other people are struggling through the same thing as you. 

During these meetups, you can talk about your struggles, which can be therapeutic. You can also gain insights and a sense of belonging through these meetups, which can be empowering in its own right.

Use Senior Aids and Assistance Tools

With the advancement of medical technology tools, many products can improve the quality of life of seniors and individuals suffering from certain health conditions.

Dealing with sleep apnea? There are CPAP masks that can make it easier for you to breathe during sleep. Unable to move your legs or find yourself easily fatigued? There are wheelchairs, crutches, and stairlifts that can help you move more independently.  

Furthermore, there are also surgical procedures that can outright fix your health problem, but they’re understandably the more costly option. Examples of these surgeries are LASIK eye surgery and internal fixation of intramedullary rods.

If you’re dealing with common conditions, some products and tools can help make living at least a tad bit easier. That said, for more severe cases, you’ll need more direct intervention from a qualified medical professional.

Choose The Right Living Accommodation

Some disabilities can make living in a standard two-storey home feel like an absolute nightmare. Steep stairs, slippery flooring, high shelves, and various forms of health hazards can make living in these places feel like living in a landmine.

Thankfully, many senior-friendly living arrangements can remove or heavily reduce this risk. 

For instance, retirement facilities like a Living Choice retirement village have housing units that are both disability-friendly and senior-friendly. 

They’re often equipped with things like grab bars and stair lifts to make living easier. They may even have additional safety features installed like emergency call buttons.

Besides that, downsizing your home is often the best way to go as a disabled person approaching seniority. This is to reduce clutter in your home and the risk of falling from stairs, with the latter being one of the most common fall-related injuries in older adults.

Focus on What You Can Control

Don’t dwell on the past and instead place your mind on things that you can do today to improve the quality of your life now and beyond.

For instance, you should try to make it a habit to eat well, including lean meats, vegetables, and fruits.

Refined sugar and excessive fat consumption can exacerbate many health conditions, so try your best to avoid these foods from your diet.

If it’s appropriate for your conditions, try to work up a sweat often. Seniors can keep their hearts and body healthy by participating in even just light exercise, so don’t shy away from these activities.

Be Accepting of Your Condition 

Lastly, you should try your best to avoid harbouring negative thoughts about your condition. 

Accept the condition you have with open arms, especially if it’s a permanent one. You may feel controlled by it from time to time, but that’s okay. Feel and process your thoughts honestly, but don’t wallow in them endlessly. 

Work towards your happiest possible life. Start by speaking with friends, eating good meals, participating in hobbies, and doing all sorts of things that bring you joy.

Remember, you are more than your disability and your age. Once you’ve placed that into your heart, then you can find peace.

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