Supporting Disabled and Older People in Crisis: Practical Guidance
Understanding and Addressing Needs in Challenging Times
When faced with challenging situations, such as health concerns or other life hurdles, it’s natural to want to support those we care about.
However, it’s crucial to approach this with sensitivity and practicality, especially for disabled and older people who might experience increased access barriers during these times. Here’s how you can offer meaningful and respectful support.
|Understanding and Addressing Needs
|Recognize emotional distress, engage in regular check-ins, and observe daily challenges.
|Direct and Respectful Communication
|Offer specific assistance rather than vague offers; understand their individual needs.
|Financial Support Considerations
|Provide tangible assistance for expenses and logistical support for services.
|Investing Time and Personal Effort
|Be present for emotional support and help with practical tasks.
|Thoughtful Gestures of Care
|Send care packages, cook meals, and visit to offer companionship.
|Assisting with Major Responsibilities
|Identify and offer to handle tasks that may be overwhelming.
|Maintaining Autonomy and Respect
|Avoid overstepping boundaries and respect their independence and decisions.
|Patience and Positivity
|Acknowledge their feelings and demonstrate self-care.
|Accept that help might be refused and adjust support accordingly.
|Evidence of Peer Support Effectiveness
|Peer support improves recovery and clinical outcomes, reduces hospitalizations, and builds networks.
|Psychiatric Services, NCBI, etc.
|Family Support in Mental Health
|Enhances well-being, influences healthier behaviours, and fosters a sense of purpose.
|NCBI, Mental Health Center
|The Role of Friends in Crisis Situations
|Aids in stress coping, improves psychological well-being, and builds resilience.
|Piedmont Healthcare, Purdue University
Identifying Signs of Struggle
- Look for emotional distress: Watch for indicators like changes in mood or behaviour.
- Regular check-ins: Engage in frequent, proactive communication, rather than waiting for them to reach out.
- Observing daily challenges: Notice if they’re finding routine tasks more difficult than usual.
Direct and Respectful Communication
- Avoid vague offers: Replace “let me know if you need anything” with specific, actionable suggestions.
- Understand their needs: Engage in conversations to ascertain what form of support they would find most beneficial.
Financial Support Considerations
- Tangible assistance: Offer help with expenses like groceries, utility bills, or medical costs. Funding a Personal Alarm Watch could really aid someone's independence and help them to know they have someone at the touch of a button to call for help.
- Logistical support: Assist in arranging and funding services that can help with transport or appointments.
Investing Time and Personal Effort
- Be present: Offer your time for listening and providing emotional support.
- Practical aid: Help with household chores, childcare, or transportation.
Thoughtful Gestures of Care
- Non-physical presence: Send cards, care packages such as a food hamper, or offer to run errands.
- Meals and visits: Cook extra portions for them and visit when possible to offer companionship.
Assisting with Major Responsibilities
- Offer specific help: Identify tasks they might find overwhelming and propose to handle them, like appointment scheduling or paperwork.
Maintaining Autonomy and Respect
- Avoid overstepping: Offer assistance but allow them to maintain their independence.
- Respect boundaries: Understand and accept if your help is declined, and adjust your approach accordingly.
Patience and Positivity
- Acknowledge their feelings: Recognise the emotional impact of the crisis and offer calm reassurance.
- Self-care: Demonstrate the importance of looking after oneself during stressful times.
- Acceptance of decisions: Understand that your help might be refused, and don’t take it personally.
- Adjust your support: Be flexible and ready to adapt the type and frequency of the support you offer.
By following these guidelines, you can provide compassionate and effective support to disabled and older people in times of crisis, ensuring that your assistance is both respectful and genuinely helpful.
The Pivotal Role of Family and Friends in Crisis Support
In times of crisis, the role of family and friends is crucial, often serving as the primary source of support. Research underscores the significant positive effects this support can have on an individual’s well-being.
Family Support: A Cornerstone of Emotional and Mental Health
Emotional and Psychological Benefits: Studies indicate that support from family can enhance self-esteem, optimism, and overall mental health, playing a vital role in influencing healthier behaviours and instilling a sense of purpose.
Family Involvement in Mental Health Treatment: Family support is essential in mental health treatment, fostering empathy, trust, and encouraging professional help, actively contributing to the treatment process.
- Source: Mental Health Center
Person- and Family-Centred Care: Recognized for its importance in mental health settings, this approach includes family support services, underlining the protective role of supportive relationships against mental illnesses.
- Source: SAMHSA
The Power of Friendship in Crisis Situations
Coping with Stress: Social interaction with friends can significantly aid in coping with stress and improving psychological well-being, even impacting physical health aspects like cardiovascular well-being.
- Source: Piedmont Healthcare
Building Resilience and Reducing Loneliness: Friends play a key role in reducing feelings of loneliness and stress, contributing to a sense of belonging, which is invaluable during crises.
- Source: Purdue University
Enhancing Mental Well-being: A robust support system, including friends, is associated with better coping skills, improved well-being, and a longer, healthier life.
- Source: Highlands Springs Clinic
In summary, the support of family and friends during a crisis is invaluable, offering not just emotional backing and practical help, but also contributing significantly to mental health resilience and recovery.
The Role of Peer Support
Peer Support During a Crisis: Strengthening Resilience
During a crisis, such as a health setback or a significant life change, seeking peer support from other disabled people or people who have had the same experiences as you can be invaluable.
Spokz People have a scheme for peer support here. It is a mental health platform for disabled people and those with health conditions and their families.
1. Shared Understanding: Peers with similar disabilities can relate to the emotional and practical hurdles. This shared understanding reduces isolation and fosters empathy.
2. Practical Advice: Peers offer practical tips and solutions that have worked for them, which can be more relevant and helpful than generic advice.
3. Emotional Resilience: Peer support provides a safe space to express fears and frustrations without judgment. It builds emotional resilience and promotes mental well-being.
4. Motivation and Inspiration: Seeing others who have overcome similar challenges can inspire and motivate individuals during tough times.
5. Problem Solving: Collective problem-solving helps identify creative solutions, enhancing independence and quality of life.
Evidence for the Effectiveness of Peer Support
Substantial Research Backing Peer Support in Crisis Situations
A wealth of research underlines the significant role of peer support in aiding individuals during crises. Peer support specialists, with their personal experiences of mental health challenges, offer empathetic and practical support, reflecting shared experiences that foster a variety of positive outcomes for those in distress.
Key Findings from Research and Analysis
Impact on Recovery and Clinical Outcomes: A systematic review of 49 randomized controlled trials revealed that peer support interventions modestly enhance personal recovery and clinical outcomes for people with mental health issues.
- Source: Psychiatric Services
Reducing Hospitalization and Promoting Personal Growth: Studies highlight peer support’s role in lowering hospital admission rates, fostering personal growth, and bolstering self-confidence.
Encouraging Generative Actions: Engagement in actions like aiding others, transforming organizations, and sharing personal narratives is linked with peer support.
Global Recognition and Emergence in Various Settings: Peer support is increasingly acknowledged as a crucial service worldwide and is becoming a standard in diverse recovery environments.
Effectiveness in Emergency Departments: A study in emergency departments compared peer support services within a structured clinical response to assist patients in behavioural crises, aiming to reduce the use of restraints and enhance patient experiences.
Benefits Listed by the Distress Centre in Calgary: Improved coping skills, increased resilience, and a supportive network are among the benefits of peer support as identified by the Distress Centre.
- Source: Distress Centre Calgary
Cost-Effectiveness and Unique Skills in De-escalation: Peer support is not only cost-effective but also brings unique skills in de-escalating crisis situations, particularly valuable in emergency department settings.
- Source: Psychiatric News
In conclusion, the evidence from numerous studies supports the efficacy of peer support in assisting people through crises by improving mental health outcomes, reducing hospitalisations, and fostering a compassionate network for individuals in need.