Managing The Minds of Bedridden Elderly Patients
Bedridden elderly patients are not just physically debilitated. They get stressed and go through mood swings and depression, which can have a negative impact on their overall health. Their poor mental health hampers their recovery, often causing grief, discomfort, and aches. Improving mental health or prepping up the mood of such patients is a huge challenge for the caregivers and family members.
Mood disorders in bedridden patients
Bedridden patients may often suffer from anxiety or depression. The fact that they have to depend on others for basic self-care and hygiene embarrasses them and causes depression. Each movement in bed or a simple change of position requires someone’s help. Loss of self-esteem becomes a major challenge to overcome for these patients.
With an almost non-existent social life, bedridden patients feel isolated from their friends and social circles. It can get frustrating, boring, and worrying. Very often, this leads to depression. They may lose hope of becoming active again.
The caregiver must be alert
Caregivers of bedridden patients must keep an eye out for signs of depression in the patient. The patients may express feelings of sadness, anger, or emptiness. They may lose their appetite or overeat. Some people struggle to complete simple tasks because they lack energy.
Ways to deal with emotional lows of bedridden patients
• Family support
• Encouragement to be positive
Being bedbound is indeed emotionally and physically challenging. But one can reduce some of the negative impacts with exercise, a good diet, a positive sleep pattern, and independence.
TIPS FOR POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH
Focus on a feel-good event:
Focusing on events or actions that inspire positive feelings can be motivating. Instead of thinking about any negative events of the day, a person can focus on the simple things that bring them pleasure.
For example -
• the post-exercise feeling
• the first sip of a morning tea or coffee
• a tasty breakfast
• a friendly greeting
Encourage visits from close friends and family members :
Close friends and family members’ visits may help improve the mood of the bedridden patient. Talking about a new book and arranging to have them delivered to the patient may help him or her feel loved and wanted.
Set up a television in the room
Let the bedridden patient watch some funny movies, children's shows, or any television show that he or she would enjoy watching.
Visualize successful moments and days: Most people can remember examples of successful moments in their lives such as getting good marks in school, receiving a performance-based bonus, or scoring the winning point in a game. No matter what it was, a person can focus on the event and try to channel the positive feeling from it.
Brighten up the room: Darkened rooms are good for sleep. People who have trouble falling asleep may find that reducing ambient light can help them fall and stay asleep. But in the daytime, let the room be well lit. Let warm sunlight filter into the room if possible. A dark room can depress the mood further.
Turn on some music: Research over the years has shown that music can often alter a person’s mood. Play the music the patient is fond of.
Avoid bed sores: Ensure that complications of being bedridden are avoided. The most common complication is the development of bedsores. Apply a barrier cream like Soreze to protect the skin against friction, moisture, and irritation. It will prevent the development of bedsores.
When to see a doctor: If the patient continues to be depressed, refuses medications, and food, and keeps wishing he or she would die, consult a psychiatrist to see if the patient would need the help of antidepressant drugs.