Following an illness, injury or surgery, your aging parent’s doctor may recommend a stay in a short-term senior rehabilitation center, also called skilled nursing care, before returning home. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, older adults may be reluctant to start physical therapy or stick with a consistent therapy routine. This can be true even in a rehabilitation facility, with round-the-clock medical staff. Family encouragement can help keep your aging parent or grandparent motivated and positive.
Set goals together. One of the benefits of a short-term senior rehab center is that an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, and therapists will create a realistic, customized plan for your loved one. You can supplement their goals by helping your elderly parent set personal goals too. Consider what they miss doing -- golfing, gardening or outings with the grandkids? Sit down together to establish milestones related to these interests and activities. Keep the focused on what the patient wants to achieve and help set them up for success.
Celebrate small wins. Your parent may find it frustrating to depend on others for mobility and their daily care. Remember, they may feel discouraged if they don’t see immediate progress in their physical therapy. Be sure to notice and celebrate minor progress, such as being able to get out of bed without help or eat unaided. Ask the rehab team to inform you of each improvement, no matter how significant, so you and your loved one can celebrate each one together.
Foster a positive attitude. While at the skilled nursing care facility, not all of your loved one’s time will be spent exercising. Make sure to visit them and keep them abreast of family happenings, so they don’t feel like they are missing out. If possible, do things they enjoy, such as puzzles, card games or listening to music together. Remind them their stay is temporary. The more they commit to their rehabilitation plan and their lifestyle goals, the sooner they can return home.
Recovery is a team effort. Family plays an important role in keeping an elderly loved one on track. At Seven Acres’ Lou Lewis Short-term Skilled Nursing Program, we provide outcome-focused specialized care that helps shorten hospital stays and lays the groundwork for a successful discharge home or to a lower level of care. Have questions about short-term skilled nursing? We’re here to help.
For more information: https://www.sevenacres.org/living-care-options/lou-lewis-program/