Raising a disabled child can create unique challenges for Illinois parents. These parents typically face high levels of stress, misunderstanding from others and burdensome financial expenses. Additionally, the demands of caring for a disabled child can adversely affect a parent’s relationships and career.
Sadly, the challenges of caregiving may also harm a parent’s personal health. New research suggests that the parents of disabled children are vulnerable to adverse cognitive effects, including memory loss and depression.
Cost of caregiving
The study, which was published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, used data collected on 640 parents. This group included 128 parents with disabled children. From the results of surveys and cognitive testing of these parents, the researchers produced the following findings:
- The parents of disabled children reported more negative parenting experiences than the other parents.
- The mothers of disabled children reported twice the rate of depression during the past year that other mothers reported.
- The mothers of disabled children experienced more cognitive aging and memory loss than any other parents.
These patterns may arise because stress negatively affects overall health, as any Social Security attorney in Naperville understands. Men may be less vulnerable to these health effects, which could explain why only mothers showed memory loss and depression.
The researchers found that mothers with supportive networks and feelings of control were less vulnerable to depression and cognitive aging. Still, many mothers of disabled children may be at risk for developing their own debilitating conditions.
Disabling mental disorders
Depression and other mental disorders can take a significant physical and psychological toll. Mental Health Month during May helps call attention to the debilitating effects these disorders often have. In severe cases, mental disorders may prevent victims from working, looking after themselves or interacting with others. In these cases, victims may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
As any Social Security attorney in Naperville could explain, disabled adults may qualify for SSD benefits if they meet medical and non-medical criteria. Sometimes, the children of beneficiaries may be eligible to receive their own dependent benefits.
Claiming SSD benefits
The Social Security Administration recognizes numerous mental illnesses and disorders as disabling, provided they meet set criteria. Claimants must document established symptoms and severe functional limitations, as any Social Security attorney in Naperville knows. Claimants can do this through medical records, professional assessments, third-party accounts and personal descriptions.
People with mental disorders may also qualify for medical-vocational allowances if they cannot work gainfully. An SSA claims examiner may consider a claimant’s age, vocational background, education and collective impairments when awarding an allowance. People who suffer from mental disorders and other impairments may receive allowances even if their mental disorders are not independently disabling.