an unprecedented time. COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, has us all
rethinking even the basics of how we work, attend classes, shop and gather with
family and friends. For anyone with, or caring
for someone with a disability, these activities become even more challenging.
Bethesda, we are working through these challenges to ensure the people we
support receive the care and guidance necessary to manage through these unique
is an overview of some of the challenges associated with the coronavirus and
tips to consider as we work through this issue together.
Coronavirus and People with Disabilities
though we are still learning about COVID-19, and how it impacts different
groups of people, experts are able to make some assertions based on what we
have seen with other infectious diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone with
an intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular
dystrophy or brain disorders may be more susceptible to severe illness from
that’s the reality of our situation, and that’s why taking steps to minimize
the risks associated with COVID-19 are so important for all of us.
Beyond Health Implications
of the safeguards being put in place to protect against the coronavirus may be
especially difficult for a person with a disability. For some, disruption to services and routines
may be more concerning than a fear of contracting the illness itself. Here are some challenges unique to people
with disabilities to consider:
people practice social distancing, some may find it difficult to isolate
themselves because of their dependence on others for daily tasks.
impairments may make it more difficult to practice a higher frequency of
education assistance may be needed as classes move to virtual learning.
routines may be disrupted making it a challenge to ensure there’s enough
groceries and supplies on hand.
may be forced to stay home, interrupting much-needed and anticipated services.
outpatient appointments and services will likely be cancelled as medical
facilities become taxed.
visits with friends and family may be socially difficult and disappointing for
What You Can Do
potential barriers and doing your best to work through them one at a time is a
big step to managing through the coronavirus.
Here are some additional tips:
your loved one is in the care of others, talk with the caregivers about these
challenges to understand their approach to them.
health experts and follow their recommendations as best you can.
patience and leniency and watch
for signs of stress and anxiety.
need to take extra care of their own heath so they can help others.
- Cancel events and
- Make sure handwashing and other
hygiene precautions are being taken.
- Communicate with family
members using facts, not fear.
- If possible, create a
new routine while self-isolating that includes some physical activity, mental
stimulation and time outside. Creating a new routine that includes elements to
break up the day will be positive both for yourself and the person you are
No one knows your personal situation better than
you, your loved one and your care team.
Check with your providers if you have any health-related questions. Remember that this too, shall pass. These are
difficult times but by being smart and following safety protocols, we will get
through this. Find the latest updates and information on Bethesda’s Parent and Guardian Resource Center.