We’ll often post about the health benefits of jogging or different vacations that you can take. For many seniors, these articles can help enrich their lives. But, for a growing number of Americans, getting out of the house is a struggle. In 2011, roughly two million seniors were mostly or completely homebound.
For these seniors, going for a morning jog may not be an option. For the portion of that population that is bedridden, even cooking a healthy meal isn’t an option. Despite this, it’s possible for the home or bed bound to lead rich lives. All it takes is a little creativity and some positivity.
Don’t Give in to Boredom
If you’re homebound, boredom may seem like a constant companion. Boredom can be both an indicator and trigger of depression, so finding ways to keep busy and fight boredom is critical.
You can avoid both boredom and social isolation by having friends and family over. It’s great to keep up with family, but having visitors can also keep you mentally stimulated and entertained. What about the times that you don’t have visitors? Well, Netflix, television, or the internet can entertain you for a while, but you’ll want other ways to fill your time too.
One way you can bring the 21st century to you is virtual reality. More interactive than TV, virtual reality offers you the chance to explore the world like never before. This can be especially beneficial for the bedridden, who may struggle to leave the house.
If you’re healthy enough, try working out your green thumb. Gardening is well known to benefit seniors, but it can be strenuous. Finding a spot to keep a garden becomes even more difficult for the homebound. Luckily, you have options. Planting a container vegetable garden is one way to bring the garden indoors. This type of gardening helps homebound seniors get fresh produce and increase their sense of self-worth.
Other examples of things you can do are:
These are only a few examples. There are many other ways to keep yourself entertained while you’re home or bed bound.
Give Yourself Tasks and a Purpose
Another way to maintain a fulfilled life from home is to give yourself achievable goals. Finishing these tasks can be powerful, giving a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Puzzles are a great example of this, since they’re fun and offer a handful of benefits for seniors.
If you’re mentally or physically capable, volunteering from your home is an option too. There are many ways you can get involved in a cause you support. Websites like VolunteerMatch help you find causes you care about. One task you may be able to do is assisting a non-profit with sorting and labeling letters for bulk mailing. Many charities accept knitted or crocheted goods, since these can help other seniors.
With the rise of the internet, working remotely (or not in the office) has become a viable alternative to many. This is great news for homebound seniors who seek an avenue to work. When you start investigating working from home, check with your doctor to see how much you can handle. There are plenty of work-at-home jobs for you to investigate. As you search, find one that fits your skills and your schedule.
Update Your Surroundings
If you’re homebound, staring at the same room every day can add to the strain and trapped feelings you may have. Your surroundings in your home become more important the more time you spend at home. That’s why refreshing the setup of your house can be important.
Beyond keeping your home interesting, redecorating has plenty of benefits. Notably, redecorating is a great time to declutter your home, a serious danger that many seniors face. It’s even a good chance to move your bed or chair by a window, which is a good idea especially if you’re bedridden. A new view is the best refresher, giving you a chance to see wildlife and the world outside.
Get Caretaking and Emotional Support
Depending on your circumstances, finding a service that can give you extra help may be right for you. There are a few different types of in-home services. Knowing your medical needs will determine which you need.
The two non-medical or care services are homemaker and companion services. Homemaker services keep your house clean and neat. Companion services are a great way to combat boredom since they specialize in keeping you entertained and mentally stimulated. Neither are trained nor allowed to give you medical care should you need it.
Another type of in-home care is personal care services. This service is especially useful if you’re bedridden, since they handle everything non-medical you may need. This can include bathing, dressing, and toileting. Some services will even cook and clean for you.
However, neither of these are covered by Medicare. Certified skilled nursing and therapy care are the only services covered by Medicare. If your doctor determines that one of these services is medically necessary, check with your insurance coverage to see what’s covered. Ultimately, any of these services can take some strain off your shoulders, allowing you to enjoy your time at home.
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Being home or bedbound can be demoralizing, because it can seem like the ultimate loss of your freedom. It doesn’t have to be a life sentence, though. With the right attitude and the right plan, you can live a rich, happy life.
If you’re living a rich life while home or bed bound, send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!
101 Mobility — What to Do When You’re Homebound: 7 Activity Ideas for Seniors and Caregivers
CareFamily — Activities with a Bedbound Patient
In The Know — A Client Care Module: Caring For Bed Bound Clients