Improving Quality of Life for the Differently-Abled

Improving Quality of Life for the Differently - Abled

Overview:

An inclusive society is a happy society. This blog delves on what common people can do to make a change for the better in the lives of the differently-abled.

“I am not disabled; I am differently-abled.”

The above quote conveys to us that disability should not be viewed as an obstacle but as a challenge, and as each one of us has our own challenges to overcome, all of us are in a way differently-abled.

And while it is true that we all face challenges, it is also true that a lot of things that are often taken for granted are luxuries for a differently-abled person. Be it transportation, education, employment or public infrastructure, the differently-abled encounter so many challenges that some of them give up on what are their rights as citizens.

According to global research, differently-abled people, when given the opportunities, can contribute up to 3-7% of a country’s GDP. But the sad fact is they face quite a few hardships every step of the way.

A Few of the Challenges Faced by the Differently-Abled

  • Accessibility: When the differently-abled find access to public spaces, buildings, transportation, etc. difficult, it affects their independence severely. When a space is not designed in an inclusive manner, the result is not just a physical barrier; the situation does take an emotional toll on the person as the unfairness brings on stress and unhappiness.
  • Education: In spite of efforts being taken to make education inclusive, barriers in terms of accommodation, infrastructure and a lack of awareness among educators do make education a challenge for the differently-abled.
  • Employment: Employers think twice before employing a differently-abled person even if his/her qualifications are as good as anyone else’s. This requires a basic change in the mindset of people. Promoting awareness and enacting policies to promote an inclusive workplace form the foundation of giving equal employment opportunities.
  • Healthcare: Differently-abled people face difficulties not only with accessing healthcare but they also have to deal with the unavailability of healthcare facilities for specific needs. Their mental health too deserves attention as any kind of mobility restriction can have adverse effects on their mental well-being. All this translates to increased healthcare expenditure and finances prove to be a challenge.

Apart from the above listed challenges, what cannot be ignored is the social stigma and discrimination. The society has misconceptions and preconceived notions about the differently-abled which prevents them from getting a fair chance at social integration.

How Can We Help?

Often, we turn a blind eye to the needs of the differently-abled. While some people feel that only the appropriate authorities and policy makers can bring about significant changes to help them, others simply do not know how to go about making a difference.

The truth is that all of us can do our bit towards improving quality of life for the differently-abled.

Start with Making Yourself Available:

  • Spending time with a differently-abled person is a great way to begin.
  • It might be a small thing for you but to them it is a sign that you care.
  • Not just that, it also diverts their attention from whatever condition is affecting them and makes them feel accepted.
  • If possible, take them out – a movie, shopping or even just a coffee, it is the small things that make a big difference.

Ensure Healthy Eating:

  • Proper nutrition is important for everybody but its benefits are amplified for a differently-abled person.
  • Many have reported an improvement in their condition when they ate healthy, home cooked food and avoided processed food. White sugar and artificial sweeteners are also best avoided.
  • Natural and organic food is the way to go and by supervising and guiding the health choices a differently-abled person makes, we can help improve their quality of life immensely as eating the right food boosts energy and increases stamina.

Make Time for an Outing:

  • Depression is a common mental health condition among the differently-abled and being cooped up indoors only worsens it. A day out can do wonders for them.
  • Take them out to the park or to the movies.
  • Any place where their safety is assured is a great option. A fun outing is the best way to restore a person’s zest for life.

Offer Employment Opportunities:

  • If you are a business owner, do consider giving employment opportunities to the differently-abled.
  • Assess them based on their educational qualifications and give them a fair chance.
  • If you are not in a position to provide employment, you can help connect differently-abled people to organizations that will help them get jobs.
  • Enabling financial independence is key to improving quality of life.

Introduce the Idea of Getting a Pet:

  • Pets make great companions.
  • Of course, a pet should be chosen keeping in mind the ability of the individual to take care of the pet.
  • As human beings, we all need a sense of responsibility to give us some direction in our lives and pets can fulfill that aspect of human nature. A pet not only provides this but also enhances happiness.
  • Some people may also be eligible for service support animals.
  • These are animals that have been trained to assist people.
  • Other than providing companionship, these animals also provide valuable functional assistance to their owners.

Make Housing Inclusive:

  • Often, differently-abled people find it difficult to rent houses as the houses are not mobility-friendly.
  • Do try to make housing inclusive by providing options like wheelchair accessible entrances, uniform flooring (without steps), handrails and grab bars, etc.

Spread Awareness:

  • Last but not the least, do spread awareness on how to be more inclusive of the differently-abled.
  • Many people are simply not aware of the problems being faced by them.
  • Do talk about it so that a change in people’s mindset is brought about.
  • Any shift in the society’s thought process needs to involve children and if we are serious about improving quality of life for the differently-abled, it is imperative to involve children.
  • It is very important to talk to children about inclusivity so that right from a young age they are made sensitive to other people’s needs.

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