Most families have a set dynamic. There are times when this dynamic will change, but those changes are likely going to come with some difficulties. It is often easier to cope with them when they are planned or happen gradually. For the family of a person who was injured at work, a gradual change isn’t possible. When the injury is catastrophic, the family is like to be thrown into a tailspin.
Making the new family dynamic work can definitely be a challenge. All members of the family must step up and learn ways to make the new way of life work for the good of the family unit. There are some very important changes that have to be considered, but the goal is to become a stronger family unit.
Don’t focus on roles
The traditional roles of the family aren’t going to apply when one spouse suffers a catastrophic injury. The spouse who has always worked might not be able to do that now so the other spouse might have to pick up that slack. At the same time, the things that need to be accomplished around the house might also be difficult to impossible for the injured spouse to manage. This puts even more pressure on the fully-able spouse. It is best in these cases not to focus on what the previous roles were in your relationship.
Accept the new way of life
You will have to make a concerted effort to accept the new way of life. This might not be easy for anyone. The people who have to do more might begin to resent that. The person who can’t do as much might feel like a burden. Trying to address these issues can be a challenge. You have to remember that the person who was injured didn’t injure themselves on purpose and that part of being a family involves doing what it takes to make things work.
Manage the finances
Try to work on the finances of the home. This might be difficult when you are dealing with a loss of income or a diminished income. You have to realize that some changes have to be made to the household budget. Even in situations where the injured party receives disability benefits through workers’ compensation, the income isn’t going to be equal to the income stream they had before the injury.
Plan for family time
In the midst of everything going on and the changes that occur, you can’t forget to spend time just enjoying your family. Having a movie night at home might be a good idea if there are mobility and transportation issues. Other trips might also be possible if the logistics and finances can be worked out. The important thing is to make sure that there is scheduled family time so all members remain engaged and connected.