Physical injuries from car accidents can range from minor whiplash to a severe traumatic brain injury. Spinal cord injuries including paralysis can permanently alter a person’s life and jeopardize their independence.
Oftentimes, victims’ families assume the task of providing care and support for their gravely injured loved ones. Adjusting to major changes can take its toll on everyone. Families that prepare as best they can may feel more confident in their abilities to provide effective care.
The degree to which a caregiver needs to help may depend on a victim’s paralysis type. According to Spinalcord.com, paralysis takes on many forms including the following:
- Paraplegia prevents feeling from the waist down
- Monoplegia prevents feeling in a specific area, often a single limb
- Quadriplegia prevents feeling from the neck down
- Hemiplegia prevents feeling on one side of the body
Navigating the changes that accompany a paralysis diagnosis can affect both victims and their families for the long term. Victims may feel hopeless, depressed and unmotivated. Caregivers may feel overwhelmed, inadequate and unprepared. Adapting to change will require teamwork and patience.
According to Caregiver.com, two of the best ways that caregivers can provide support is through active listening and providing opportunities for their injured loved ones to interact with others. For example, they can plan activities for their family member to participate in. They can keep their family member informed about current events. Encouraging social interaction and making time to listen and communicate with their newly paralyzed family member can aid in preserving and improving his or her mental and emotional health.