The hospital can be a scary, isolating and unfamiliar place. As the health of your senior loved one may be much more fragile than it’s ever been, with things such as old age and accidents being key factors, extended hospital stays are often a result. To make your loved one feel as at home and comfortable as possible, there are some critical steps you need to take. Hospitals can naturally be very cold, bleak and feel almost lifeless. You’ll want to shift the energy and light as much as you can to boost your loved one’s mood which can lift their spirits and create an environment for greater healing. Below are some tips on how to improve a lengthy hospital stay for a loved one.
Bring a piece of home
Human beings are used to specific comforts; they like familiarity and things that they recognize. Bringing something, or a couple of things, that remind them of their safest environment before being in the hospital is essential. An easy thing to bring is their favorite blanket. The temperature in hospital rooms is often cool and when your loved one has no other choice but to be in bed, being wrapped in a cozy, warm blanket that reminds them of home can be incredibly comforting. Another great option is familiar pictures, a plant, reading materials and other smaller household items. Anything that will alert their sense of recognition will bring them more comfort, ease and less anxiety around being in the hospital for a long period.
Depending on the health state of your loved one, having a familiar face present and in the room as often as possible is highly encouraged. It can get hard to be in a hospital room for hours on end, especially if the senior doesn’t sleep much during these hours. Going more than 24 hours without seeing someone they know and feel at ease with is crucial. Depending on the support unit of family and friends around, this can sometimes be difficult to achieve, mainly if the hospital stay is very long. Work this out as best you can because your loved one’s morale, mood and ability to see themselves healthier and released from the hospital is primarily tied to their support system. If the senior can take phone calls, this can serve as a necessary alternative.
Hospital beds are not the most comfortable. In fact, if your loved one has been in the hospital for a longer period and hasn’t been able to be mobile, you should consider purchasing a hospital bed air mattress or asking for a specialty mattress. These type of products are specially made to not only provide comfort for those sleeping on it but to eliminate the presence of issues like bed sores that can occur when minimal movement takes place. Making sure that the patient is as comfortable as possible also directly impacts and influences the amount of rest they can adequately get. Again, rest is a vital aspect that must be present to improve their health. Many illnesses and medications primary symptom or side effect is fatigue. Make sure they’re sleeping as comfortably as possible to facilitate healing.
Get well sentiments are so helpful when a person is struggling with a health crisis. Flowers and balloons are pretty standard and while these are fun to look at, they only last a couple of days. For the longer stays, try to bring the patient something that they can use to pass the time or get their mind off of being in the hospital. Crossword puzzles, music, or coloring books are great gifts to give. Cards are always a nice token as well, especially when heartfelt encouragement, love, and gratitude are conveyed within their messages.
After being in the hospital for awhile, your loved one may feel encouraged or brightened by the presence of their favorite hair brush or hand cream. Familiar smells are also a fantastic way to sooth them. Assist your loved one with combing and styling their hair, offer to give them gentle massages with a light oil that they may enjoy, or stage a nail salon by painting fingers and toes. This type of thing is integral in them feeling like themselves and less like the aging, ill person they would otherwise categorize themselves as.
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