Understanding How Disability Shapes Our Society

A younger gentleman living with a disability listens to music from a tablet.

Living with a disability or helping a loved one who is disabled can sometimes feel like an isolating experience. It takes extra time, effort and attention that you may feel other people don’t understand. The truth is more people are dealing with a disability than you may think.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 61 million people, or 1 in every 4 Americans, are currently living with some type of disability. You may not physically notice these disabilities in the world around you, but multiple types of disabilities can quietly affect the lives of the people you interact with every day.

Physical Challenges

When you think about the word “disability,” you probably most often associate it with some form of physical barrier. These physical disabilities can be the result of health conditions such as arthritis, or from accidents or injuries to different parts of the body. Overall, these types of physical disabilities tend to impact a person’s mobility.

The CDC found that around 12% of adults have difficulty walking or navigating stairs, about 3.6% struggle to bathe or dress themselves, and 16% experience general difficulty with physical functioning.

Intellectual Challenges

Another common type of disability is intellectual disability, which affects the way that a person learns and thinks. Intellectual disabilities are a subset of developmental disability, which typically starts at a young age and persists into adulthood. Examples of these disabilities can include Down Syndrome and forms of autism. In the US alone, roughly 6.5 million people live with an intellectual disability.

For these millions of people, it can be a struggle not only to process information but also to communicate wants and needs. This often makes it difficult for a person with an intellectual disability to fully take care of themself.

Sensory Challenges

A third prevalent everyday disability is sensory disability. As the name suggests, these disabilities affect one of the five senses. This includes conditions such as blindness and deafness.

The CDC reports that roughly 12 million adults over the age of 40 have some form of visual impairment while 1 million are fully blind. Roughly 6.1% of all adults are also deaf or deal with serious hearing difficulty.

The Impact on Families

These challenges can drastically affect the family dynamic of those caring for a loved one with a disability. Often, these families evolve from moms, dads, brothers, and sisters, into full-time caregivers. In fact, on average, families spend more than 57 hours a week caring for a loved one living with a disability.

Not only do families act as caregivers for their loved ones, but they also become their biggest advocates. It falls on them to educate others around them about their loved one’s needs and to contact and coordinate with the many service providers that offer the necessary assistance to support a loved one with a disability.

While it can sometimes seem overwhelming to figure out when and where to find extra help, it doesn’t always have to be that way. SYNERGY HomeCare is a one-stop-shop that understands the impact that a disability can have on a family. They can not only answer your questions and point you toward finding a service you may need, but they can also provide in-home care services themselves.

SYNERGY HomeCare has an all-encompassing disability care program that’s specifically designed to alleviate family stress while providing the exact solutions that a disabled individual may need.

To learn more about SYNERGY HomeCare’s disability care program, please call 877-432-2692.


For more information on how to practice person-centered care with someone who lives with a disability, download the SYNERGY HomeCare Disability Care Guide.

SYNERGY HomeCare offers no obligation home assessments. Find a location near you or Contact us to talk to a Home Care specialist.

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