It’s wonderful to welcome your loved ones home after they have been in hospital. After all this means they’ve either defeated an illness, overcome an operation or survived an acute health issue of one kind or another. You may, or may not, need help caring for your elderly mother/father/aunt/uncle at the beginning, depending on what their state is upon release from the hospital. If you need help you can find tips on saving money on senior care in this book. You could also sign up for the eldercare site and receive it for free. No matter how you obtain it, it can be a great resource for you.
The first thing you should do is determine your convalescent’s needs. Always consult with the treating doctor to make sure you understand the dos and don’ts and what they require. Here are a few pointers what to look for.
Are you going to need special foods for them during the recovery period? A healthy and balanced diet is always top priority, recovering or not. However, if he/she was diagnosed with diabetes and you have never dealt with this disease before, you will have to make some changes. There are so many recipes you can get online or diabetic cookbooks at your local library, it won’t get boring and it will be easy to adjust. If we’re talking about recovery that limits mobility and therefore exercise, you are going to want to make sure that you keep the calorie intake low and the type of food you offer easy to digest. Gaining weight isn’t going to help matters. Always offer water before giving your hungry patient food, this way you make sure boredom or thirst aren’t signaling hunger.
Exercise is important. How much of it or how little depends on the individual. This is another thing you should make sure to address when speaking to the treating physician. You don’t want to over-do it but at the same time you want to make sure to motivate for the right exercises and adequate amount of repetitions. If there are no restrictions, make sure he/she gets up and walks a little bit more every day. There are also simple exercises you can do sitting down. Just lifting the arms to the side and then over- head can help to get things moving. Lift up your legs, bend the knee and set them back down. Lift your feet off the ground and draw figure eights with your pointed toes. These are just a few examples. There are a lot of misconceptions about senior exercising and Ryan Malone addresses them in his article.
Is the patient able to shower? If so are they sturdy enough to stand or is it advisable to procure a shower chair. This is a small investment and can make life easier and safer for the patient and the one taking care of them. A bathtub is always more difficult to access than a shower and the possibilities of further injuring the patient are far higher. Therefore, in my opinion, the shower is the safer alternative. Using a regular toilet can be a challenge as well. It is easier to get up and retrieve your balance from a raised toilet seat than it is fighting your way up from a regular one. Grab-bars are helpful as well. You can use them by the toilet, in the shower or by the bathtub. They not only help to pull one-self up, they also give security.
Make sure the patient isn’t too hot or too cold. This means don’t turn the heater up to the highest temperature because you think this will help them get better, it won’t. Light clothing, preferably with an elastic waistband (a tight waistband gets very uncomfortable) is ideal. You can always add a sweater or a blanket, if needed. The material should be breathable and sweat absorbent and definitely should not be rough or itchy. Cotton is pretty safe in that respect. Also make sure that the house shoes they are wearing have a non-slip sole.
Yes, it can get boring and we all know a bored patient can quickly become an unpleasant patient. There are ways to make sure that doesn’t happen. The internet can be a great way to occupy some time. Let them check out a website that might be interesting to them about senior housing. Make sure you have books at hand with topics they are interested in. The public library can be a great resource here. If the patient has difficulty reading, get audio books. There are plenty out there and even these are available at your local library. Music is food for the soul. If they like what they are listening to it can only be beneficial. Crossword puzzles or Sudoku are another way to go. The important thing is to switch it up. You can give their day some structure with these things. Don’t let them watch TV 24/7 because it’s easier. Remember, even your favorite hobby will get boring after a while and bored patients are cranky patients.
It seems like I almost forgot the most important part. LOVE. Just let them know how important they are to you and how happy you are to help getting them back into shape. This is the one thing that will be most appreciated and most rewarding, for the patient and for you. Happy Healing!
About the author:
Jared Pennington is a health and wellness writer for Just Home Medical, a supplier of home aides such as shower chairs. When he’s not writing he’s out running or rock climbing.