Show Support or Give Space: Finding The Right Balance

written by Aundrea Santiago 02/23/2017

As tackled in our previous blog posts, there are five (5) stages of grief. Additionally, each individual have different paces while going through these five stages. This is what we need to keep in mind – each person is different.

One of the most important things one can do when caring for persons with disabilities (PWDs) is to observe. Take note of the behaviors exhibited by that particular individual you are taking care of. How do they interact with people? Are they mostly distant and often times choose to be isolated? Or are they more open to social interaction? Or maybe they are quite unpredictable? This will help you know how to approach them.


Some individuals, mostly during the denial stage, have a hard time accepting that there are certain things they cannot do anymore and when help is offered they often reject it. Why? They want to prove to themselves that they are still as strong and capable as they used to be. This is when you take a step back and let them do whatever it is they think they can still do. Supervise but withhold offering to help. When they realize, in their own time, that they need help – they will ask for it. However, remember that during the first times that they do ask for help, it hurts (in some shape or from) their pride and ego. Reassure them (with or without using words) that in time,they will be able to find ways and compromises to do these things again.

It is easy to overdo things. Give someone too much space and they might feel completely alone. Give someone too much support and they might feel suffocated. The adjustments start with you, the caregiver. Test the waters to get a feel of what their mood is today (note: mood can change within seconds).

If you see that they are comfortable talking to you, start a conversation. It is okay to ask how they are, if they are feeling okay, but do not ask them every five minutes (at least twice in one day is good enough).

If you notice that they are quiet and not in the mood to interact, give them some alone time. Maybe they just need to think and reflect on things.

To sum things up, remember to be observant. Let them come to you. They need to come to terms with their situation in their own time, in their own way.


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