If your loved on has an intellectual disability, consider some of these home health care tips

Caring for your loved ones with respect and compassion is our priority at Wilson Care here in Honolulu. Our home health care professionals are trained to provide trained care to help those in need of assistance with both medical and day to day tasks. Here on our blog, we try our best to provide our readers and clients with some of the expertise that our homecare professionals utilize. Today, we’ll talk about some tips for providing care to loved ones with intellectual disabilities. Because intellectual disabilities vary so widely, it’s important to pay attention to the needs and abilities of that individual in order to provide assistance that will benefit them in the best way possible. Note, patience is key with assisting any loved one with needs outside of their control. Us at Wilson Care can’t stress patience and the ability to understand enough!

Set Goals

Depending on the severity and the type of intellectual disability that your loved on has, the types of goals that need to be set for them will vary. For example, if they are able to function at a high level, then set goals that are both challenging but achievable. Goals can pertain to reading, writing, chores, hygiene habits, communications and behaviors. When setting goals, make sure that the individual understands these goals and why they’re important. Explaining importance ensures that the individual knows purpose. A good example would be if the goal is to be read a certain number of books a month, then the importance of reading so many books is the learning aspect!

Understand Needs

Everybody’s needs are different and needs change on a day to day basis. Listen to your loved one and observe their behaviors. While some people might feel nervous in social situations, others might thrive in them. Understanding your loved one and what their comfort zones are can help you to avoid situations that cause distress. Sometimes knowing what a person needs stems far past what they’ll tell you and a the best quality that a good home health care provider can possess is the ability to understand.

Correct Behavior With Caution

Some individuals, through harmful interactions with other individuals or other unfortunate circumstances, pick up behaviors that are either inappropriate or harmful to themselves or others. When attempting to correct behaviors, patience and understanding is key.

First, do NOT punish them for enacting the behavior in the first place. Make sure that they have an understanding of why the behavior is wrong and continue to explain this to them if the behavior persists. If the behavior persists past your explanation, then implement small levels of negative reinforcement. For example, explain that if they don’t stop, then they won’t be allowed to go to the movies this weekend. NEVER utilize any sorts of physical violence and ALWAYS control your temper. Picking up these behaviors is rarely the individual’s fault.

Communicate

Effectively communicating with the individual is the best way to establish and follow goals and to understand their needs. Unfortunately, verbal communication isn’t always an option. If your loved one is hard of hearing or has trouble verbally, find other options to communicate. You’d be surprised with how effective facial expressions and hand motions may be in communicating. If the individual can’t speak, take the time to understand the ways that they’re able to communicate with you whether it be through writing, body language, or sign language! Again, patience is key here. Additionally, finding new and fun ways to communicate can be an excellent way to bond and enjoy each other!

Stimulating Tasks

Depending on the person, it’s sometimes difficult for individuals to independently entertain themselves if left alone or without activities. A lack of stimulation can inhibit brain function which can negatively impede goal achievement and put the individual at risk of cognitive issues, like dementia, in the future. Help provide stimulating and fun activities for the individual that get them thinking and creating. From puzzles, to board games, to singing along with musicals, the amount of activities to get your loved one’s brain ticking are endless! Always make time to help them with these tasks. 

Exercise

Physical exercise is arguably the best way to keep anybody happy, energetic, and happy. Implementing regular exercise routines into an individual’s day is absolutely necessary for their physical and mental well being. Gauge what they’re able to do comfortably and make it fun. Dancing is always a great start. If it’s a nice day, take the individual for a walk in the park to get them some vitamin D and fresh air as well as some great exercise. Like brain stimulation, physical stimulation could also help reduce the risk of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.  

Bonding

Humans are social creatures and too much loneliness could lead to depression, boredom, and anxiety in an individual. Creating a special bond with your loved one is extremely helpful in ensuring their health and happiness and can be beneficial to both of you! Let them know that they have a friend in you.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities need care that’s both stimulating and fun! If you ever need assistance with developing goals and providing care, call our home health care professionals at Wilson Care and we’ll be sure to provide all of the help and care that you and your loved ones need!