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Families with Special Needs

Whether your family member with special needs is a child or an adult, combining your personal needs with caregiving can be a challenge. Below are general caregiving tips for families with special needs to help you and those you care for stay safe and healthy.

  • Photo: Accept assistance if appropriate, and ask for help when you need it, whether from friends, family, health practitioners, support groups, or counselors.Be informed.
    Gather information about your family member's condition, and discuss issues with your provider, family and others who may be able to assist. Being informed will help you make more knowledgeable health decisions and improve your understanding about any challenges your family might face.
  • Get support.
    Accept assistance if appropriate, and ask for help when you need it, whether from friends, family, health practitioners, support groups, or counselors.
  • Be an advocate.
    Ask questions, document care and coordination issues, and provide helpful information to all caregivers and healthcare providers.
  • Be empowering.
    Understand the realities of the situation. Think positive and know what you and your family can do together. Celebrate achievements, and promote independence when appropriate.
  • Take care of yourself.
    Stay aware of your own needs. Take some time for yourself. Enjoy a hobby, exercise, or visit with friends. Know your limits.
  • Keep balance in the family.
    Take time for other family members, regardless of special needs.

These caregiving tips provide families with tools to stay healthy and positive. Keep in mind that these tools are applicable to many family issues. Information, support, advocacy, empowerment, care, and balance can be the foundation for a healthy family and appropriate no matter what the challenge.

More Information

  • Page last reviewed: August 29, 2014
  • Page last updated: November 13, 2012
  • Content source:
    • CDC Office of Women's Health
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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