When someone suddenly finds his or her mobility limited due to illness or an injury, even a month can seem like forever. A broken leg or a long recovery from a tough illness can force people to spend most of their time at home. As a friend or family member, you can make a difference in this difficult time.
Let’s start with the room or home itself. Chances are the patient will spend most of his or her time in the bedroom and maybe a sitting room. Are these rooms cheerful and inviting? Are the floors safe for someone with limited mobility to move across? Look to make sure area rugs are securely based with non-slip pads and the paths to bed, chair and bathroom are free of obstructions such as ottomans or tables. A few extra feet for someone who is not strong can seem like a long distance.
Make sure the patient’s waking hours have enough to fill them. Television, books and magazines are good entertainment. If the person is too weak for reading, recordings of stories, poems or music can help without demanding much energy.
Both patient and caregiver can benefit from a gift of food. Bring take-out from a favorite place for lunch or dinner. Bake homemade cookies or muffins. Stop at the donut shop on your way over for a visit. You’d be surprised how much of a treat this can be for someone who is house-bound.
Finally, stay in touch. If you don’t have time to visit, a quick phone call or email let’s people know you’re paying attention. There is no better gift you can give.