If you are a caregiver for someone with a disability, likely you are all too familiar with its related roadblocks. But have you experienced discrimination, or "ableism"? Duke physician Dr. Christopher Lunsford explains ableism as a preferential - but not necessarily intentional - treatment of people without disabilities over those with disabilities. In healthcare, this can create additional setbacks in getting the care your loved one needs.
Notes Dr. Lunsford, "People...don't want to say the word disability, because of the societal negative assumptions about disability. That's the opposite of what we want. Disability is a normal part of human existence."
A disability, or any impairment that makes activities and interactions more difficult, can increase the challenges of a caregiver. As a caregiver to someone with a disability, how can you continue to provide for your loved one while also changing negative perceptions? Here are a few suggestions for changing your own conversation about disability:
March is Disability Awareness Month. If you're interested in disability advocacy work, join Dr. Lunsford's scholarly yet informal group that meets every two to four weeks, Disability Consciousness in Healthcare.
Caregivers, get connected with other caregivers for valuable support and resources. These resources are available at no charge: ABC11's Caregivers Corner Facebook group, access to Duke Health's 2022 virtual caregivers event, and this ABC11's Caregivers Corner website.