Seniors need extra support during recovery
After a hospital stay, seniors are often discharged to skilled nursing facilities (aka nursing homes) to continue recovery. Living in a strange place and going through rehab can be difficult for older adults. That’s why they need extra support from family and friends.
3 ways to support seniors during short term nursing home stays
1. Make your older adult’s room more home-like
Bringing a little bit of home to their room can help seniors feel more comfortable. However, don’t bring expensive or irreplaceable items in case they disappear.
Here are some ideas:
- A family photo
- A clock and calendar to keep track of time and dates
- A few books or magazines
- A cozy blanket
- Moist wipes for comfortable toileting
- Moisturizer and lip balm
- Non-skid slippers like these for women or these for men
- Toiletry and personal care items they use frequently
- Comfortable clothes
- An inexpensive radio or tape player
2. Spend time together
It’s important to visit when you can. Familiar faces and trusted people they can talk to if they’re having any problems will be a great comfort. If other family and friends are available, work out a schedule to share the visiting.
Some activities to enjoy during a visit include:
- Eating a meal together (you can bring your own).
- Listening to their favorite music.
- Reading aloud from books or the newspaper.
- Working on a puzzle or crossword.
- Telling them about what you, close family, and friends have been doing lately so they won’t feel left out.
- Bringing a computer to watch a favorite show from a DVD or online.
- Making plans to do something they enjoy when they’re ready to leave the facility – gives them something to look forward to!
- Giving them a gentle massage.
- Sitting quietly together, perhaps holding hands or gently stroking their arm.
3. Help seniors get exercise and practice therapy
Getting more exercise and therapy helps with recovery. Of course, the priorities are to keep your older adult safe from additional injury and not overdo it.
If possible, go to your senior’s physical, occupational, or speech therapy session. Watch and take notes on what the therapist asks them to work on. Ask the therapist if there are exercises you can help your senior practice outside of the sessions.
When your older adult isn’t too tired, ask them to practice some therapy exercises or suggest a walk around the building. With you to keep them steady and safe, they’ll be able to increase their activity levels.
For many seniors, being in a nursing home is scary and disorienting, no matter how short the stay. That’s why they’ll need extra support from you, family, and friends. The encouragement and positive feelings that come from the additional support can even help speed up their recovery.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff