For every five Australians, 1 has some form of disability. From struggling for equality in the workplace to constant healthcare, people with disabilities deal with many challenges in their daily life. The result of all this is can be loneliness and, potentially, depression.
Research shows that people with a disability experienced low perceived social support, loneliness, and social isolation at higher rates than people without disabilities.
Luckily, community participation can assist such individuals to cope with challenges and help people living with a disability lead more independent lives. What exactly is community participation, and how does it benefit people with disabilities?
What is Community Participation
Community participation is the involvement of individuals in community projects and entails giving all individuals the opportunity to participate in activities that can have a positive effect on their health or lives in general.
Some factors that encourage community participation include the traditional, religious, and social obligation for mutual help and the need to belong to a specific group. For people with a disability, community participation gives them a sense of belonging and increases their ability to live independently.
Disability community participation encourages members to work in areas that improve their life skills by participating in various activities such as shopping, communication, swimming, horse-riding, and cooking.
Benefits of Community Participation to People with Disabilities
We can all agree on one thing– social interaction is crucial for our health and day-to-day life. If you or your loved one have any form of disability, community participation could be the key to leading an independent and happier life. Some of the benefits of community participation include:
- Promotes independence: Community participation allows individuals with a disability to interact with others and move independently without any support. This means your loved one won’t have to depend on others to shop, eat, or interact with friends.
- Improves social and life skills: Community participation enhances the life and social skills of individuals living with disabilities. It allows people to engage in activities like planning and executing community projects and enhancing community engagement. As a result, their self-esteem increases, improving their communication and relationships with others.
- Reduces the risk for mental disorders: Due to social isolation and loneliness, people with disabilities are more likely to develop mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and dementia. Through community participation, people with disabilities create a network of support systems that help them prevent mental illnesses.
- Promotes positive attitude: Community participation provides individuals with disabilities with a sense of belonging. These individuals develop a positive attitude by participating in community activities such as planning, building, communication, or horse races.
- Reduces further accidents: Community participation involves providing mobility services to people with moderate levels of disability like hearing or vision impairment and can help mitigate the risk of future accidents.
- Benefit the community as a whole: Participating in community projects and events is good for others and the community at large. Including people with disabilities in community projects, increases participation in the workforce.
- Breaks stereotypes: Unfortunately, there’s a stereotype associate with people living with a disability that they may be less capable than others. Community participation creates a better network amongst individuals, thus, breaking untrue and unfounded stereotypes.
Increasing and promoting community participation for people with disabilities can significantly benefit their lives, including enhancing their independence and well-being. What’s more, supporting community participation has improved the quality of life of carers and the country’s economy.
If your loved one has any form of disability, make a point of encouraging them to join a community participation program. If you’re in Australia, OSAN’s community participation programs may be right for you.
Being NDIS approved, we’re dedicated to providing you or your loved ones with many opportunities to take part in your local community, interact with friends and family, improve your critical thinking skills, and enjoy your best quality of life. Contact OSAN ABILITY today for more information.