Being the disabled mom of a disabled kid, I can say with all honesty, that we both experience feelings of isolation and loneliness as a direct result of our disabilities.
My limited mobility and chronic pain, my daughter Bethany’s unpredictable behavior and seizure activity, and living in an extremely rural area are the biggest contributors to why we feel lonely and isolated at times.
Driving has become so painful for me that I avoid it at all cost.
But even if I could drive myself and Bethany to social activities, it wouldn’t be advisable.
Bethany’s inability to understand danger and her cheetah like pace combined with my sloth like pace make taking her out into world without a helper dangerous.
And finding reliable, trustworthy helpers in our rural area is pretty darn hard!
So, unless we happen to be lucky enough to find a helper who is willing to take Bethany out to activities, she and I spend most of our days alone together at home.
We used to attend church activities but when that became too hard to continue doing so, we stopped.
When you stop attending functions like that, it’s almost as if you’ve disappeared off the face of the earth.
The friends and acquaintances you hung out with at these functions just kind of gradually forget about you.
Sadly, Bethany and I are not the only people in the world with disabilities who experience feelings of loneliness and isolation.
According to one study, 23% of all people with disabilities feel the same way.
Feelings of isolation rise to an even higher 38% for younger disabled people.
Thankfully, we have found a few ways to help lessen our feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Bethany and I are fortunate that my husband is more than happy to take us out into the world in the evenings and on weekends.
We are also blessed that Bethany’s beloved Flash Club, a social and fitness club for kids and young adults with autism is on Sundays, Malcolm’s day off.
Bethany really looks forward to getting together with her friends every week to participate in fun activities at the YMCA.
It’s also nice for me to connect with the other moms there, as well.
I have also been blessed with quite a few other children who are adults now.
Those who live close by visit and those that live farther away stay in touch with phone calls and connect with us on facebook and Skype.
Bethany loves to call and Skype with her brothers, sisters and niece and nephew!
Another way we have lessened our feelings of loneliness has been by connecting with other families and individuals through our Youtube channels.
Facebook groups, and even this blog have also greatly lessened our feelings of isolation and loneliness.
I’d love to hear your ideas that might help people with disabilities and their families feel less isolated and lonely!
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