Are you struggling to find a way to support your partner who is living with spinal cord injury (SCI)? It can be difficult for the individual and their family and friends, especially in terms of understanding how they can help. However, there are many strategies and tips that can help partners of those living with SCI offer vital practical, emotional, and social support.
Understand what a spinal cord injury is
Understanding what it is is one of the first ways to begin supporting your partner with a spinal cord injury. Doing so will lead to stronger foundations for creating support structures for partners with spinal cord injuries that are both secure and compassionate.
Ask if they need help first
For partners of those with spinal cord injuries, taking the lead and helping out around the home can feel like the natural thing to do. This is a normal urge; however, ensuring that your partner’s autonomy is respected is important. Before jumping in to help, pause and ask if they need assistance. This will show them you support their independence and want to work as a team. Ultimately, this will help create an environment of trust and understanding.
Make modifications to the home
One of the most important steps in caring for someone with a spinal cord injury is creating a safe environment, especially in their home. This can include making modifications to help them remain comfortable and independent. Such modifications may include widening doorways and hallways for wheelchair access, adding grab bars and slip-proof surfaces in bathrooms and showers, or installing ramps or elevators.
Additionally, button pullers and reachers can help those with limited mobility perform everyday tasks. Making these adjustments to your home is practical and demonstrates how much you care about your partner’s well-being.
Include them in activities
When a person faces a major injury like a spinal cord injury, it can be difficult for friends and family members to know exactly how to respond or show their support. But effort should still be made! The best way to include someone with SCI in activities is to ask them how they’re doing, consider modifications that might make the activity more accessible, and offer assistance as needed. Keep communication open, and remember that we all have unique needs to find joy. Lending a hand of support during this time can make all the difference.
Help them find resources like counseling
Taking care of a partner’s needs with spinal cord injuries is a challenging but rewarding experience. Several resources are available to help make their journey easier, such as counseling and support communities to share experiences with other partners in similar situations.
Additionally, Delta Center’s Endeavor Program provides comprehensive services to humans living with physical disabilities like spinal cord injuries, including recreational activities, resources, and meetings for families of those affected. Reaching out to these groups can provide much-needed guidance and create a sense of community between all those supporting themselves or their loved ones through this difficult time.
Show them love, gratitude, and affection
And the most important thing is showing your partner love, gratitude, and affection. These gestures speak louder than words and can help them cope with their condition more quickly. Finding positive ways to display these feelings – such as through kind words or thoughtful gifts – can remind your partner that they are still loved, valued, and respected, regardless of their injury. Nothing could be more meaningful or powerful in these trying times together as a couple.