Category: Helping Hands Blog
Published: Wednesday, 14 October 2015 12:59
Hits: 1723

lonely ladyDon’t Be Lonely!

People with disabilities sometimes feel as if they are alone in the world. Most people are social beings and need interaction with other people, but when a disability comes along they find it restricts their ability to socialize. Prior friendships can become strained as relatives and acquaintances do not understand the physical needs and problems the person is experiencing. Feelings of isolationism can lead to depression and even increased sickness. Therefore it is important that people with disabilities connect with other people who are experiencing the same problems and can use these connections for support as well as socialization. The question is how do we build these groups and find others experiencing the same problems that we deal with everyday?

 

Don’t Get Stuck!

Thanks to the internet, it is much simpler to develop connections than it was just a few years ago. Unfortunately many people become stuck using the internet as their sole source of interaction. If a person is confined to their home, then I suppose this is the best alternative, but I think we should use the world wide web as a research tool to develop new friends that we can physically interact with.

Building Connections

There are some really good websites we can look at to find like-abled people. Some may be better than others depending on the size of your community.

Meet Up (www.meetup.com)

Meet Up is one of the largest group meeting websites in the world. From this site’s homepage you can search for your specific disability or something more generalized like “pain.” Perhaps you could even branch out and search for groups that cater to your hobbies or interests. Note: some groups charge to cover the costs of maintaining the Meet Up page and rental of the meeting location.

Your Doctors

Ask your doctors if they are aware of any support groups. Often doctors already have knowledge of meetings or they can ask patients for you. One doctor I used to visit had a bulletin board in his office where patients could post notices. If your doctor will allow you to put up a bulletin board it will help develop a community around their patients and even some free advertising for them as the groups grow.

Facebook

Bypass the urge to see what your friends are up to and type your disability or interest along with your city or town into the search bar at the top of the page. You can probably ignore the search results. Instead, look at the white area just underneath the search bar, slide to your right and click on “more.” Then drop down and click on “pages” and “groups”, and “events” to see what is happening in your area.

facebook groups

Nearify (www.nearify.com)

Is actually a phone app (iOS or Android) but it also offers a web version. This company aggregates events and meetings from a variety of websites and combines them in one place. If you visit the website, click “download” and it will take you to a screen with three options- iOS, Android or web. Clicking on web lets you view events on your desktop computer without having to download any programs. If an event cannot be located in your chosen category the app may suggest events that you might be interested in also.

Search Engines

The last way I’ll mention in this article to get out of the house and meet like-abled people is to use your favorite search engine to look for groups near you. You might type in “[your disability] in [your city]” or “[your disability] events near [your zip code].”

 

Studies have shown that social interaction can help ease depression and, in some cases, even help improve some people’s physical maladies. Take a few minutes to physically connect with people around you and make some new friends who can actually understand your day to day struggles.

 

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