Older Relatives

Supporting Older Relatives as they Recover from Illness

Recovering from illness can be difficult at any age, and generally, the longer we are ill, or the more serious our illness, the longer it takes to recover from. Even when we are young, fit, and otherwise healthy, it can take weeks to feel completely back to normal and even longer for our fitness levels to get back to where they were. If you have older relatives, you may find that it takes them a lot longer to recover from even mild illnesses. Unfortunately, getting older often also means more serious conditions, invasive treatments, and time in hospital. All of this means that during their recovery they’ll need more support and help, which can be overwhelming for a caregiver. Here are some tips to help you support older relatives while looking after yourself.

Consider Help

It’s important to accept that sometimes, as much as we’d like to keep our relatives in their own homes and care for them ourselves, they need more help than we can give them. If your loved one is facing long-term recovery, you might want to consider long-term care. Skilled nursing at a long-term care St Louis facility can offer round-the-clock care and support to help your loved one medically, but also by offering emotional support and care.

Don’t Take Over

Seeing our loved ones struggle is never easy, and you might want to do everything that you can to make things easier for them. But you shouldn’t take over, force them into anything they aren’t comfortable with, or make decisions for them. Instead, communicate with them. Respect their views and their autonomy, while giving them all the information that they need to make positive choices.

Encourage Getting Out of Bed

Speak to your loved ones’ doctor, so that you know what is safe for them to do, and you have a plan with regards to recovery. As long as they can, getting out of bed can be one of the best things that they can do. It will help to boost circulation, improve their mood, and help them to feel more like themselves.

Take Things Slowly

Keep in mind that we all recover differently and that an older relative certainly wouldn’t make the same progress as a younger person. Getting out of bed is a great step, but don’t rush them to do more. Take things slowly, encourage more time moving around, and getting outdoors when they feel comfortable, but don’t rush things, and don’t be surprised if progress is slow.

Prioritize Food

Nutrition is incredibly important when it comes to recovery. Your loved one needs food for energy, but it’s normal for their appetite to be low. Focus on soups, smoothies, and other things that are easy to eat and filled with nutrients. It can also be a good idea to offer treats like cakes and brownies that will boost their energy levels and mood.

Find Fun Things to Do

Boredom is often a problem with recovery and, coupled with illness can quickly lead to depression. Make sure your loved one has some enjoyable things to do, especially if they face time alone, to improve their mood and help them to pass the time. Things like books, podcasts, TV shows, and puzzles can be ideal.

The best thing that you can do for any relative recovering from illness is to be there for them, listen to their needs and try to help when you can. If you have any doubts or concerns, speak to their doctor.