May 3, 2023 by
If a senior you love undergoes a surgical procedure or hospitalization, their doctor may suggest that the senior stay in an assisted living facility before going back home. This is usually a short period of time of intensive therapy to promote recovery and healing. However, the notion of moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home even for a matter of weeks or months can be extremely difficult to accept.
Wondering how you can help the older adult you love navigate this experience? There are several steps you can take to help overcome feelings of fear, anxiety, and homesickness during a short-term facility stay.
- Be a motivator. The aging adult you love will likely have a list of activities and exercises to do routinely with their speech, physical, and/or occupational therapist. If the senior and staff agree, attend therapy sessions along with the person. Find out what is involved with their recovery process, and exactly how you can effectively provide encouragement. For instance, they may be encouraged to walk whenever possible. Taking walks together during your visits can provide the motivation they need to reach their goals.
- Individualize the room. Assisted living facilities offer the basics for a living space: a bed, chair, and dresser. Make the space feel more like home by bringing in items like a favorite pillow and quilt, family photos, along with other small memorabilia. Pack their favorite lotion, shampoo, as well as other personal care items, along with comfortable clothes. Be cautious, however, about bringing any items of value or special significance. This applies to clothing as well, which might get lost or delivered to the wrong person during the laundering process.
- Visit often. It’s easy to slip into infrequent or short visits because you assume the assisted living facility is providing all the care your aging loved one needs. However, your presence and companionship are invaluable during this time. Pack a sandwich and join the person for lunch. Play games and cards together. Bring a book for the older adult to read when you’re gone, and read the same book yourself, so you can discuss it together. Or simply sit with them and invite them to share whatever is on their heart.
Also, feel free to consult with a doctor about whether or not in-home care is a viable alternative. If so, At Home Independent Living is here to help each step of the way! We can start by helping to prepare the home for the person’s discharge from the hospital. This can include grocery shopping so there are sufficient amounts of healthy food options available, picking up prescriptions, and performing a safety check to reduce fall risks. Once back at home, we can provide medication reminders, prepare meals, take care of light housekeeping, assist with transfers and walking, and much more. Through it all, we are here with friendly companionship to brighten the process of recovery at home.