A week ago Abe returned home at the end of a month of hospitalization.
He fell and got a hip fracture that led to hospitalization, surgery and stay in the rehabilitation department.
Injury or hip fracture is very common for older people.
Even if the surgery is successful, there is always the danger that the person fails to regain his abilities of independency, which will lead to a significant deterioration and a serious damage to the quality of his life and the life of those around him.
In my work with Abe (age 78), as in any process of developmental support and treatment, my observation is complete – everything is connected:
One aspect is the body-
With movement and touch; I help the person learn to move the affected area with growing awareness and coordination with other parts of his body. I am looking at the body as a whole. For example: shrunken shoulders, tension in the chest, ease of neck and eyes – all these and more influence on the person’s ability to restore his posture, and return to a comfortable move smoothly and without pain.
Another aspect is the emotional aspect –
When an elderly person returns home after prolonged hospital stay, He accompanied by the addition of the physical pain and limitations, as well as anxieties, doubts and insecurities. Often there will be sadness and depression. All these crucial when it comes to his recovery capabilities.
The goal is to help him regain his sense of life force, mental strength and independence. As fast as we can help a person gain his basic independence back, he will be able to improve all other areas in his life. That is because our independence is connected to our sense of competence. That works from the other side too – if we can help a person gain his competence back – soon he will be more independent.
The therapy with Abe, took place in his home, in his real life environment. This way we could organize his physical environment and regroup his support circles so that they could provide the best solution to his needs.
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The therapy I did with Abe, was conducted after his hip replacement surgery. Yet it can be the right process with any older person who falls, experience trauma, returns from surgical intervention or rehabilitation.
Any experience like that, can be traumatic to all of us regardless our age, but for an old men or women it would be worse in most cases. The body is more vulnerable, physical and cognitive abilities have changed. On top of the pain and disability, we can add the fear and worry of the person’s closest support circle (partner, children). Sometimes out of these good will and worries, they deny the person from the sense of control over his life.
In the common view of out culture, old women and old men have nothing to grow for, no independency to develop and they are doomed to deteriorate.
That is why I think, that intervention is required here not only on the physical level, but on an emotional level mostly to the older one himself and with his closer circle in order to give them support and help change their perception if needed.
It is important to know that there is no necessity that an old man or an old woman after hospitalization would lose their independence or abilities. With proper support relating to the person as a whole, we can give them back the feeling of vitality, compatibility, and independence.
I invite you to respond, to share and to ask
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