Seniors need extra support during recovery
After a hospital stay, seniors are often released to a skilled nursing facility (aka nursing home) to continue their recovery.
For many older adults, 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, company, and positive feelings from the additional support can even help speed up their recovery.
We share 3 ways to support your older adult during a nursing home stay to help them feel better, heal faster, and get home sooner.
3 ways to support seniors during a short term nursing home stay
1. Make their room more home-like
Bringing a little bit of home to their room can help seniors feel more comfortable. But don’t bring expensive or irreplaceable items – they might get lost or disappear.
- 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. Keep them company
It’s important to visit as often as you can. You’ll be able to watch out for any problems and advocate for better care. They’ll also feel safer and are less likely to become disoriented when people they trust are around.
If other family members and friends are available, work out a schedule so you’ll be able to spread out the visits and maximize the time your older adult will have company.
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 them get exercise and practice therapy exercises
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 older adult’s physical, occupational, or speech therapy sessions. Watch and take notes on what the therapist asks them to work on. Ask the therapist if there are exercises you can help them do 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.
Recommended for you:
- Nursing Home Complaints? The Ombudsman Is on Your Side
- 10 Fun Things to Do with Someone in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living
- This Hospital Discharge Checklist Prepares Seniors for Successful Recovery
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Harmony Caregiving