Helping someone with everyday tasks can be hard work, but it can make a vital difference to them being able to live independently. You are giving them the most incredible gift.
It can be very tempting to just step in and do the tasks they are struggling with yourself. But it is better, if possible, to be patient and support them to be able to accomplish as much of each task themselves as they can. Focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities. This not only keeps up their skills but can also help their self-esteem.
At the same time, be careful not to push them to do things they really cannot do. This not only can make them feel like they have failed but could also lead to them pushing themselves beyond their physical capabilities, potentially injuring themselves in the process.
Remember that even though they may need lots of looking after, they should not be treated like children. Try and treat them just as you would if they did not have a physical disability. Respect their physical boundaries, ask permission before touching them or moving them, and do not make them do anything they don’t want to do or go anywhere they don’t want to go. It can also help to use language where their disability doesn’t define them. For example, rather than saying ‘they are disabled’, say ‘they have a disability’.
There could be limitations on the care that you are able to provide to your friend or family member. You may live a long way away from them, or maybe there are some types of care, such as personal care, that you or they would rather you didn’t do. You may also not be quite as young as you used to be – more than half of all carers in the UK are older than 55, and more than 20% are over 65  - so you may find it too physically demanding to carry out all the care needed alone. Or you may have other responsibilities in your life such as children, a job or other friends or family members requiring care.
You should not feel guilty about any of these limitations. You are providing as much help and support as you are able to. It is important, however, to try and be as honest as possible about what these limitations are, so that you are able to seek additional help for the elements you aren’t able to do.
Where possible it is good to speak to the person you care for directly about all the decisions taken around their care, so that they feel involved and empowered. This can make the whole process run smoothly and help the person you care for retain as much dignity as possible.
For further advice about everyday tasks that you might need to assist with, take a look at our guide 'Helping someone with everyday tasks'.