Seniors: Healing Activities Following Illness or Surgery

Jan 27th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Assuming you have some hint that dealing with an illness or surgery may be imminent, part of the preparations for that would well be laying out a plan for things to do while recovering.  Illnesses often come on without much warning as we senior citizens age.  But, when they do having someone who can help entertain you, get you through the day, assuming you feel like any activity at all, is helpful for speeding up the process of recovery.  Other means include entertaining yourself, e.g. sudoku or wordoku, crossword puzzles, solitaire, other independent activities which allow for your mind to be kept active and off your condition.  It also helps prevent too much bothersome prevailing on your spouse, friend or whomever is there to be helpful to you.

Surgery is quite another matter.  It will, at least for a period of time, require certain attention to your needs, sometimes a change of dressing during the day, keeping up with meds and the schedule for them, making check up calls to the physician will be required, and, if driving is not possible, providing that service when needed.  There will be a variety of needs such as meal preparation, grocery and other shopping and errand running, serving to quell too many visitors coming at once and so on.  Company, however, will be the most likely need.  Loneliness or some stages of depression will need the assistance of a listening ear, distracting activities, periodic check ups when the patient has settled in his/her own home, but no longer requires 24/7 presence of another.  Visitors who show up with the intent of offering support, laughter and just being a friend will generate good healing vibes.

Reading tops the list of things to do.  A Kindle or other device which offers a multitude of choices for reading is a great investment.  There are also word games and other activities available which sharpen one’s thinking and concentrating skills.  If a television is available, discourage that as a crutch for full time activity.  Too much of that escape mechanism can contribute more to depress than to stimulate.  Renting movies, which offer the individual’s preference in types of entertainment he/she particularly enjoys, is quite another thing.  It also eliminates commercials.  Listening to soothing music, we have found, contributes to a frame of mind that offers the power of soothing comfort.  

Spending time communicating with friends and family is another pleasure available to the use of time.  If by e-mail or snail mail let folk, who are special to you, know how you are coming along.  They will be interested and you will have found someone to talk to through one of these methods.  If you are on Facebook, that becomes another means,  so long as you are comfortble with it, to be in touch.

The telephone offers yet another means for direct communication.  Here, one needs to exercise  discipline.  Don’t stay on the phone too long.  If that is the temptation and the person is local, invite them over for a visit, but keep limits on visits as well.  When recovery has reached the point that taking walks or being able to sit for longer periods of time, go for a ride, out to lunch, a stroll around a park, taking breaks as necessary.  Begin to find ways to enjoy your recovery of abilities and use them in ways that will produce satisfaction to you and those with whom you spend time.

The possibilities are as varied as your own imagination.  One is to keep a diary about your experiences during recovery.  Another is to invite persons with whom you have found intellectual conversation to be stimulating and adrenaline prompting.  Avoid arguments or tension or stress.  Just engage in exchanges which offer you and another the chance to widen your interests.

Above all, keep as your primary goal getting well and back on your feet.  All of the choices you will have made in the meantime will contribute to a healthy recovery and a discovery that your body, mind and spirit, working together, will contribute to that happening.



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