Living Well With a Disability: From Chronic Illness to Alzheimer’s Disease

Living with a disability can be quite challenging in several ways. Not only do we have to deal with the physical symptoms and the fear associated with having a chronic condition, but we also must deal with the limitations, the exhaustion, and the ways our lives change after becoming disabled. Most people don’t handle these types of transitions well.

This seems evident based on the National Institute of Mental Health’s report that says that people with a chronic illness are at a higher risk for depression. They also note how people with specific chronic conditions that can affect the brain (like Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or Multiple Sclerosis), the disease itself may be increasing the chances of depression on top of other risk factors such as family history.

While it can be devastating, frustrating, painful, terrifying, and exhausting to deal with a disabling chronic illness; there are ways to live better with it. We can learn to cope. Check out these four ways to live well with a disabling illness: 


Not only should we be our own advocates fighting for proper treatment and care, but we should also be advocating on the legal and social levels as well. A lot of chronic illnesses are currently incurable. Therefore, fighting for laws regarding disabilities, raising money, and spreading awareness are all important to help doctors try to find the cures and discover better treatments for these conditions. By learning as much as we can about these diseases and doing these things, we can make a difference to people with these diseases. For example, by learning Alzheimer’s statistics we can be well informed to raise awareness.

Wearing The Right Clothes

For disabilities that have affected walking, wearing the right pair of shoes can be crucial to getting the proper traction and controlling leg and foot pain. When it comes to clothing, there are new and exciting trends in the market since late last year. 

According to USA Today, multiple clothing brands such as Tommy Hilfiger,, and Target have started creating “adaptive clothing” collections to help the disabled be able to easily dress while still maintaining a fashionable look. These collections can be found at places like Target, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Bon-Ton, and Sears.

Often, in cases of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the disease causes severe heat intolerance. Therefore, with MS, it is best to always dress in layers so we can better control our body temperature and we should also invest in vests that hold ice packs for the summer months. If our chronic illness has resulted in an amputation (as is sometimes the case with diabetes patients), then we should be wearing the right pair(s) of Knit-Rite prosthetic socks so that we can avoid rashes, infections, and discomfort.

Get The Right Safety Equipment

Getting the right mobility equipment (cane, wheelchair, etc.), bathroom equipment (bar by shower and toilet, shower chair, etc.), and other general safety equipment is going to make life living with a disability much easier. 

For example, people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease may require canes, cooling equipment (air conditioning and fans), and disability aids throughout the home to help with basic tasks (bars in the bathroom, railings on the staircases, ramps, etc.). If we’re covered by Medicare, we may be able to get help with the costs of disability devices we need, according to The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare.

Have A Support System

A lot of times we don’t think about how much our physical health affects our emotional health. Being sick can take a lot out of us.  That’s why having a support system is crucial to living our best lives with a chronic condition. 

For example, according to Medline Plus, being able to connect with people makes coping with chronic illness easier. They explain that joining a support group full of people with the same condition and having close loved ones around can provide us with help and emotional support.