If a loved one has recently had a limb amputated, it can be difficult to figure out how to support them. Our team at Tierney Orthotics and Prosthetics has worked extensively with amputees and their families, and we want to educate people on how best to support their loved ones dealing with limb loss. In this article, we’ll go over a few things you can do to support the recent amputee in your life.
1. Offer Practical Help – While your loved one is still learning to use their new prosthetic, they will likely appreciate practical assistance with things like household chores. In time, most amputees will be able to find ways to do this work themselves again, but some help with these tasks while they get over the learning curve will save your loved one a lot of trouble and stress. Of course, make sure to respect your loved one’s boundaries and only provide help if they say it’s okay.
2. Don’t Do Everything Yourself – Another key thing you can do to support a recent amputee is respect their autonomy. This means you shouldn’t just assume your loved one can’t do something and take over, but you should instead let them do things themselves and only offer to step in when they say its okay. You can still offer to help, but respect their right to refuse.
3. Know When to Keep Your Mouth Shut – A third thing you can do to support a recent amputee is avoid saying the wrong thing. A few things you should definitely not say include:
- “You’re such an inspiration.” – Your friend probably doesn’t feel inspiring right now. Moreover, saying this to an amputee often comes across as condescending.
- “I understand what you’re going through.” – Unless you’ve lost a limb yourself, you don’t actually understand this experience.
- “Let me do that for you.” – As we mentioned above, be careful about how you offer help. Make sure to respect your loved one’s autonomy.