How to Enhance Daily Life for a Person with a Disability

Three Methods:Improving the Home EnvironmentImproving Social WellbeingManaging Hobbies & Activities

The incidence of disabilities in our communities is far more common than you might realize. Ensuring that people with a disability have maximum quality of life is very important. With some time and effort, you can help enhance the quality of daily life for a disabled person you care about.

Method 1
Improving the Home Environment

  1. Image titled Help Those Who Have a Disability Step 1
    Recognize the person's basic needs of daily living. These include getting dressed, bathing, eating, toileting, paying the bills, cleaning, shopping, making telephone calls, etc. Is the person able to do these tasks on his or her own, or is the disability preventing them from doing so? Sit down with the person and discuss these things to show that you care.[1]
    • A good way to frame these questions is to say that you read that they are important and normal questions to check in on for all people in "situations such as yours" (referring to the person who is disabled).
    • Another option, if you are uncomfortable asking such personal questions, is to set up an appointment with the family doctor, who has been trained to go over these questions in a professional and respectful way.
  2. Image titled Help Those Who Have a Disability Step 3
    Ensure that the person with a disability has adequate support.[2] If he or she is unable to complete any or all of the tasks of daily living above, think about who you can put in place to be of assistance. Are you or other family members or friends able to help? Is a full-time caregiver needed?
    • Note that ensuring the basic needs of daily living are accounted for and looked after is key to enhancing life for a person with a disability.
    • It not only lifts one's spirits by alleviating stress that these things will be taken care of, but also helps someone living with a disability to feel supported and cared for by those around them as it shows that others have taken an interest in their wellbeing.
  3. Image titled Gain Weight Healthily Step 1
    Make sure the home is adapted to fit the person's disability. One option is to contact an occupational therapist (someone whose job consists of helping to adapt home situations for people with disabilities).[3] You can start by making some basic adjustments yourself to help the person with a disability, as you and the affected person see fit. Some things to consider include:
    • Is the person now wheelchair bound? If so, are there ramps to get in and out of the house? Whether or not they are in a wheelchair, are they able to get from one floor or the house to another if it is a multi-floor house? Is there any way to make this easier, such as with the insertion of handrails?
    • Bathroom tasks may also be made easier with handrails, for instance to help with showering and/or toileting.
    • If the person is at risk of falls where they may not be able to get up to reach a telephone and call for help, do they have a medical alert button they can press and/or a medical alert bracelet detailing their medical conditions for if and when something happens and emergency medical personnel arrive?
    • These are just some of the things to consider. The person themselves (with the disability) can likely give you the best indication as to things he or she is struggling with mobility-wise at home, and either you or the occupational therapist can then think of creative ways to help.
    • The occupational therapist can also conduct a complete evaluation of the home environment that is much more thorough, and provide innovative solutions that we often cannot think of ourselves given that they work in this field and have lots of experience.[4]
  4. Image titled Help Those Who Have a Disability Step 12
    Introduce the person with a disability to internet grocery shopping and other home delivery services if they are able or if it is appropriate. Look into assistance programs such as "Meals on Wheels" to see if your loved one qualifies for this assistance. These are great services that can ensure ready-to-eat meals delivered to their door.
  5. Image titled Respect People With Disabilities Step 10
    Consider transferring the disabled person to a care facility. In cases of extreme injury and/or illness, it may be impossible for the person to manage on their own at home. It may also be too expensive to hire full-time caregivers, and even full-time caregivers may not be able to provide adequate medical care and support in severe cases.
    • For cases where the medical needs of looking after the disability are higher, consider transferring the person to a facility where this type of care can be available on an "as-need" basis, or even on a 24/7 basis.
    • Another reason to transfer someone with a disability to a group care facility is to enhance their social connections. It is a fine line to walk, because some people get depressed at the idea of moving out of their home; however, others thrive as it gives them many more options of things to do during the day, people to connect with, and others who are in similar situations.

Method 2
Improving Social Wellbeing

  1. Image titled Respect People With Disabilities Step 6
    Plan regular trips or visits. If a loved one, family member, or dear friend is suffering from a disability, one of the most powerful ways to show your love and support - and to demonstrate to them how much you care - is to stop by for regular visits.[5] Life can be hectic with a number of personal commitments, but if you can take the time out of your busy schedule to stop by once a week, or even once a month (whatever you have time for), it can make a big difference to their mental and emotional wellbeing. Connection with other people is one of the most vital things in helping us to thrive as human beings!
    • When you do visit, bring an excited energy to make the person feel wanted and appreciated.
    • Also, make an effort to relate to them in the same way you did prior to the disability. This will show them that you see them as the same person, and that nothing has changed for you at the heart level as a result of the challenges they are facing with their body.
    • This will boost their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth, because many people do not want to be viewed in a different light by their loved ones simply because of a physical disability or challenge.
  2. Image titled Be Happy when You Don't Have Friends Step 1
    Check with a social worker for locally run day trips and other programs that the community offers. In addition to home visits (or outings you may do with your loved one), encouraging them to get involved in community events can be a great way to meet new friends and also to feel engaged in life.[6]
    • Trying different activities may also help the person with a disability to find something they are passionate about, which can re-kindle their sense of enthusiasm for life. Having a passion with other people outside of the home can do wonders for one's mental and emotional wellbeing (and note that mental health problems such as depression can be one of the greatest problems accompanying disability).
  3. Image titled Help Those Who Have a Disability Step 9
    Find a pet for them, if they are interested. Pets can be great companions. It is important to choose a type of animal that the person likes, and that they are able to look after given their disability. Having a pet (or anything to look after - even a garden!) can contribute to one's sense of responsibility, and overall happiness and wellbeing.
    • Pets have been shown to increase the mental health of people living alone. In studies of how people relate to dogs, for instance, it has been shown that having a dog increases your levels of oxytocin, which is commonly known as the "love hormone" (it gives you that great feeling when you hug, cuddle, or kiss someone, or otherwise connect with a living being such as a pet).
    • Some disabilities would also qualify people for a "service animal."[7] Service animals are specifically trained to help with the given disability, such as guide dogs for people who are blind. Service animals are also available for people who are diabetic, autistic, or suffer from severe anxiety, among other things. If your loved one's disability qualifies them for a service animal, look into this option as well - it provides not only companionship, but also assistance moving through the world in a functional way.

Method 3
Managing Hobbies & Activities

  1. Image titled Help Those Who Have a Disability Step 5
    Inquire if the disabled person is interested in taking courses. Many people whose bodies are disabled are not held back at the level of the mind, so engaging in courses or programs that stimulate their brain - as well as the creative flow of ideas and new learning - can be very beneficial. Ask if the person is interested in enrolling in an internet course or a degree (perhaps even one that can be obtained "long-distance" via internet courses, if they are unable to transport themselves to a college or university).
  2. Image titled Help Those Who Have a Disability Step 8
    Offer to introduce the disabled person to health focus type fitness programs or sports groups. These usually range from a more gentle activity such as Tai Chi, water exercises and other kinds of exercises aimed at improving mobility and circulation, to more complex sports and games depending upon the person's abilities and the extent of the disability.
  3. Image titled Set Goals and Achieve Them Step 7
    Find ways that the disabled person can contribute to others. It gives a sense of confidence, self-esteem, and happiness to give to others who are in need or less fortunate, and it can also help a disabled person to feel better about their own situation as they realize they still have gifts they can give to others who may be in even more challenging situations than they are.
    • Examples might be volunteer services such as knitting blankets or scarves for the homeless, volunteering as a mentor to other people with disabilities, or finding other services that they can do.
    • There are also companies that specialize in employing the disabled for paid work and will even organize transport. This may be a good option to look into if the person is still interested in working.
    • It is important to recognize not all disabled people are unable to make a career for themselves. A qualified individual such as an accountant, an architect, a phone-based salesperson, etc., can still work from home with the use of a computer, so it is wise to inquire if their employer can find ways to keep their employee active.
  4. Image titled Describe a Color to a Blind Person Step 3
    Help the person to see how they can live with meaning and purpose regardless of disability. If the person with the disability is to thrive mentally and emotionally in the long-term, it is important that they find ways to enjoy their life and to feel like they can make a meaningful contribution to the world around them despite their handicap. Brainstorm ideas with your loved one as to how he or she may regain passion for life and an overall sense of purpose.


  • There are a lot of organizations in existence with a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of disabled people. While many of them are limited by the amount of people and funding, you won't know if they can help if you don't ask them.


  • If you aren't related to someone with a disability, or around people with a disability, avoid stigmatizing it.

Article Info

Categories: Healthy Aging and Senior Lifestyle | Disability Issues