314 chapter 15: Support for caregivers
Make Decisions Together
Above all, anyone who assists a woman with a disability
must remember she is a grown woman and not a child.
If she can, let her tell you what she needs help with, and
then together you can decide the best way to do it.
Ramola tells me
what help she needs.
She is the one in
As much as possible, the disabled woman should be in charge of her care and her
life. Caregivers should encourage the disabled woman to regard herself as the captain
of the ‘team.’ That way she can get the help she needs, and not assistance given in a way
she finds unnecessary, not helpful, or lacking respect.
As far as possible, talk with the disabled person about what she expects. Ask her
what responsibilities she can share, and what a caregiver needs to do or not do. She
may not feel good asking for help to do things she would rather be doing herself.
It will be easier to give good care if you and the woman can talk about this openly.
If that is not possible, try putting yourself in her place and imagine what she might
If she is deaf and uses sign language to communicate, make sure you learn how
to sign with her as soon as possible.
If she is blind, let her tell you how she wants you to help her find her way
around. Do not just take hold of her arm or hand and start to lead her. Let her take
your arm first. Also, if she uses a stick or cane to find her way around, make sure it
is always close by her side.
What women with disabilities can do
If you are a woman with a disability and you need help with daily activities,
such as bathing, dressing, eating, or getting up from lying down, talk with
the person who will assist you before they begin to help you. Make sure they
understand how much assistance you do or do not need.
Be patient. It may take time for the person to realize there are many
things you do not need help with.
Caregivers need respect. Most caregivers and assistants work very hard.
They need a little time to themselves every day as well as a whole day off at
least once a week. If your caregiver is rested, he or she will be better able to
Make decisions together. Although you know best the sort of assistance
you need, listen to the ideas the caregiver may have. Sometimes her ideas
may work better.
Meet with other disabled women to share ideas about the best way to use
the help of a personal caregiver.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007