I am fortunate that I have never been so injured in the past that it has changed my lifestyle. But with my most recent shoulder injury from the gym I am learning more about the impact an injury can have on someone. It can impact someone’s work performance, income, ability to sleep, increase their health care costs, and in some cases can even lead to a disability filing.
We at needhelppayingbills get emails every day from people seeking help. A percentage of those people imply they have been hurt at work or at some point in their life, or that they may be even disabled. We may track these types of emails from injured/disabled people in the future as we are sort of curios as to how many requests for financial help come from someone impacted by an injury/disability.
About a month or so ago I hurt my shoulder in the gym. It has not really recovered. While I have been to the doctor, had massages on it, rested it, and am soon going to physical therapy, the pain is still there. It is impacting my ability to sleep, I have not been able to work-out since the injury, and the discomfort/lifestyle impact is starting to affect me mentally as well.
While I am fortunate in that my livelihood is not impacted by this injury, it has made me a little more empathetic to people who are hurt and/or disabled. If someone has hurt their back (which is fairly common) or any other body part, it can cause them to miss work. And since most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and have very little if no emergency savings, even a little time missed at work can have a major impact on their household budgets. There may also be an increase in medical bills.
An injury may not only takes weeks or longer to heal, but there is a mental component to them as well as I have learned. As the injured person may not be able to sleep, so they can lose focus, patience, and some of the other benefits that come from sleep. Someone may become frustrated with the lifestyle changes they need to make to account for the injury, and if they can’t provide for their family due to missed income and not be able to pay the bills, that can cause even more hardship.
My lack of ability to go to the gym (which I have been doing for about 25 years) is really making me frustrated. I do not have that stress relief any longer, and the lack of gym type exercise is causing me to change my diet. There is also some of the confidence part of it as working out is a way to help build confidence and self-esteem. But I just received a cortisone shot, will soon start therapy, and am confident my should will get better.
Financial impact of injuries
They can add up. We mentioned missed work time, income and paychecks. This can be even worse if the employee is at a company with limited and/or no sick time. Or if their employers has a weak short term disability policy. In these cases, and others, the missed income can really strain a household budget.
Then there is also the medical cost of recovering. There are still millions of Americans who lack health insurance or who lack affordable health care plans. Or even if the injured person has a decent policy, there are still medical bills as well as deductibles that need to be paid. So the households expenditures will also increase during that timeframe.
This means injuries have two different impact…missed income (so less resources to pay the bills) as well as increasing outgoing costs. It can be the perfect storm for any household, especially one on a low income.
The bottom line is injuries are never fun. They of course not only cause pain and/or discomfort, but they can also have a major financial impact to a household.