Medication for People with Disabilities

Modern medicines have contributed to longer life spans, improved health and better quality of life. Medications are the most common treatment for many diseases and conditions seen in older people and persons with disabilities. Medicines now not only treat and cure diseases that were untreatable just a few years ago, they aid in the early diagnosis of disease, prevent life-threatening illnesses, relieve pain and suffering and allow people with terminal illnesses to live more comfortably during their last days.


However, for older adults and people with disabilities, medications, prescription, over-the-counter, social drugs such as alcohol, and herbal remedies/alternative medicines can be a double-edged sword. When not used appropriately, effectively and safely, medications can have devastating consequences.


Older adults, people with disabilities and as a caregiver, we may encounter different challenges when taking medications. Resolving these problems can lead to much better results from medicines. Consumers and caregivers must alert their doctors and pharmacists to any difficulties they have taking medications, including the following:

  • Memory: Difficulty remembering to take medications. The pharmacist can provide a variety of special pill boxes or other aids that re-mind a caregiver and senior to take medications. The devices range from low-tech, such as simple containers with compartments labelled for meals and bedtime, to high-tech, such as containers that beep when it’s time for a dose, or a special bottle cap that counts openings of a prescription bottle to tell if the day’s doses have been taken. For those with severe memory impairments, caregivers are key to the proper administration of all medicines. In addition, some aging-related service organizations offer medication reminder telephone calls for older persons with memory problems.
  • Vision: Difficulty reading labels on prescription labels and over-the-counter products. Pharmacists may be able to provide prescription labels in large print. Health care providers and caregivers can read the information on over-the-counter products for consumers with vision impairment. Magnifying glasses may also be helpful.
  • Hearing: Difficulty hearing instructions from health care professionals. Ask doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to speak louder and/or write down important information relevant to the safe use of medications. Caregivers can also be “the ears” for seniors with hearing impairments.
  • Dexterity: Difficulty opening bottles, inability to break tablets, problems handling medicines such as eye drops, inhalers for asthma and other lung disease, and insulin injections. These problems are common for people with arthritis and certain types of disabilities. Large, easy-open bottle tops are available for prescription medicines. If a prescription dose is one-half tablet, the pharmacist can split the tablets for you. Caregivers are key to assisting with the administration of eye drops, inhaled medications, injections, and other dosage forms that require fine motor skills. Again, pharmacies can provide instruction sheets on administration of medicines.
  • Swallowing: Difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules. Many prescription and over-the-counter products are available in a variety of dosage forms such as a liquid, skin patch, or suppository, greatly reducing difficulties associated with swallowing. Ask your pharmacist about alternative dosage forms.


All in all, as a caregiver, we are a big help for those people with disabilities and we should also be extra aware and be sure of all the action’s that we are taking because we are the ones who are holding the health of their health.


Disability Care

As a family caregiver for an ailing parent, child, spouse, or other loved one, you’re likely to face a host of new responsibilities, many of which are unfamiliar or intimidating. At times, you may feel overwhelmed and alone. What if that someone with disability is a family member? Planning for family members with special needs can be overwhelming, particularly when so many decisions may have lifelong consequences. Beyond figuring out the details of government programs, parents fret over guardianships, how governmental services may erode and what legal documents they need.


Caring for someone with a disability can be tiring both physically and emotionally. It doesn’t matter if they are an older or a younger person with a disability, the support of family, friends and community services is important. Providing care for a family member in need is an act of kindness, love, and loyalty. And as life expectancies increase, medical treatments advance, and increasing numbers of people live with chronic illness and disabilities, more and more of us will participate in the caregiving process.


What should you do as a caregiver?

  • Learn as much as you can about your family member’s illness or disability and about how to be a caregiver. The more you know, the less anxiety you’ll feel about your new role and the more effective you’ll be.
  • Seek out other caregivers. It helps to know you’re not alone. It’s comforting to give and receive support from others who understand what you’re going through.
  • Trust your instincts. Remember, you know your family member best. Don’t ignore what doctors and specialists tell you, but listen to your gut, too.
  • Encourage your loved one’s independence. Caregiving does not mean doing everything for your loved one. Be open to technologies and strategies that allow your family member to be as independent as possible.
  • Know your limits. Be realistic about how much of your time and yourself you can give. Set clear limits, and communicate those limits to doctors, family members, and other people involved.


If you’re caring for someone with a disability, you’re not alone. There are a number of services, resources and support to help you in your caring role.


What services are available?

  • Aged care services that can provide support for the older person you care for include:
  • Home maintenance and modifications including repairs, garden maintenance and installation of things such as hand rails and ramps
  • Goods and equipment including providing items such as a walking frame or a raised toilet seat
  • Other services to help at home
  • Allied health including occupational therapy, services of a dietician and physiotherapy which can also help with techniques for safe lifting
  • Respite care, which allows you to take a break while the person you care for is looked after at home, in a community centre or in an aged care home
  • Independent Living Centres, which carry a wide range of products and equipment to help manage disabilities in daily life.


There’s no getting around it, caregiving is stressful. But you don’t have to be overwhelmed by your responsibilities. Learning to manage stress is part of being a good caregiver. And it’s not as impossible as you may think.

UK Government Disability Benefits  


The UK government has a wide range of disability-related financial support, including benefits, tax credits, payments, grants and concessions. Here, I have listed some of the different support provided by the government for sick or disabled people.


If you are sick or disabled, there are a number of different benefits and tax credits you may be able to claim:

  • If you are aged 16-64 and you have a long-term health condition or disability that affects your ability to live independently, you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (or Disability Living Allowance in Northern Ireland)
  • If you are under 16 and you have a health condition or disability that means you have more care or supervision needs than other children your age, you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance
  • If you are 65 or over and you have care needs, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance
  • If you are unable to work, you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance
  • If you work, you may be entitled to Working Tax Credit
  • If you were injured at work or have an industrial disease caused by work, you may get benefits
  • If you were injured serving in the Armed Forces, you may get benefits
  • If you care for someone who is disabled, you may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance


If you are disabled, you may be entitled to other help apart from benefits and tax credits. For example, you might get cheaper public transport, parking concessions and practical help with care from your local council. You also have the right not to be discriminated against at work or when you receive goods or services.


Here, I have also listed some of the others benefits:


Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance is a tax-free benefit for disabled children and adults to help with extra costs you may have because you are disabled. It is not based on your disability but the needs arising from it.


To get DLA, you must have personal care needs or difficulty with walking (also called mobility) because of either a physical or mental disability. DLA has two parts, the care component and the mobility component. The care component is paid at three rates depending on how often and how much you need care. The mobility component is paid at two rates, depending on how much difficulty you have with walking. Depending on your needs, you may get one component of DLA, or both together.


Disabled Facilities Grants

A Disabled Facilities Grant is provided by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to help to improve the home of a person with a disability, and may be based on the recommendation of an occupational therapist.


Disabled Students’ Allowances

Disabled Students’ Allowances provide extra financial help if you have an impairment, health condition including mental health conditions or a specific learning difficulty like dyslexia. They are paid on top of the standard student finance package and don’t have to be repaid.


For further information about these, you can contact the Disability Action’s Information and Policy Unit in which they provide specialist information and advice on disability issues.

The Filial Connection Of Elderly Care

In most cultures, some care for elderly parents by adult children is generally expected. These expectations may be found among elderly parents or adult children, in social norms and in the practice of allocation decisions for state-funded home help. Expectations of different parties often do not converge, which brings up the question what expectations are legitimate in the relationship between adult child and elderly parent.

A number of demographic trends increase the need for a clarification of filial expectations or obligations. In the future, there will be a larger percentage of elderly in our population. Even if it is probable that they will be in better health than generations of elderly before them, it may be assumed that some forms of help will remain needed. At the same time, some other families limit the availability of adult children for support giving. Furthermore, many other families undergo changes in their composition over the course of their existence. Divorces lead to the loss of a cohabiting parent, and new partnerships may introduce stepparents, stepsiblings and half siblings. An account of obligations of adult children towards elderly parents needs to allow for a variety of situations. In addition, western cultures nowadays are characterized by a high degree of individualization, in which being independent and developing one’s own capacities is highly valued. The provision of support to family members, neighbours or friends is not self-evident under a doctrine of individualism, and the question what a correct interpretation of filial obligations ought to be becomes even more pressing.


As regards for personal care, some research shows that most elderly parents in our society prefer formal care instead of informal care, and that the majority of adult children do not wish to provide hands-on care for their elderly parents either. But for me, I do want to be hands-on in taking care of my parents when they will be getting old.


Well, it would be so if I will not be very busy in the future. And I do worry about that. I may need to focus my attention to my children other than my aging parents to take care of. So, I guess, in any way, a professional help will be the easy option. Caregivers can help and assist me in taking care of my parents in the future. That’s what I planned.


Aside from acquiring help with caregivers, there is also that option for me to send my parents in a shelter with the other aging people. In that shelter, they will not be that bored if ever because they will have other people to talk to, other people like them. Well, if ever I will try out that particular option, it doesn’t mean that I am getting rid of parents, it is actually more of their benefit as they will be much taken care of in the shelter 24/7. And I will be constantly be visiting them.


I guess that is what I planned in the future for my parents. I have laid out the options, what do you think is the best one?