What Happens Next? Post-Rehab Tips for Seniors

Short-term rehabilitation patient.

If you or a loved one will be going home after short-term rehab, these tips can help make the transition go more smoothly.

One of the services The Wesley Community is known for is our short-term rehabilitation program. Older adults typically come to us following a hospital stay for a planned surgery, an injury, or a serious illness. We help them continue the rehabilitation they started in the hospital using an individualized care approach.

As a patient gets back on their feet and starts to regain their confidence, planning for a safe and smooth transition home begins. Our goal is to help each patient return home feeling strong and in charge of their continued recovery.

If you or an older adult in your life will be returning home following a stay in short-term rehab, these tips can help you prepare.

6 Tips for Making a Smooth Transition Home After Short-Term Rehab

  1. Ask about a home safety assessment: Older adults tend to live in the same house for decades. They often have a sentimental and emotional attachment to their home. Unfortunately, many older houses weren’t designed with the needs of a senior in mind. Steep staircases, poor lighting, and difficult-to-access bathtubs are common. Before you leave the rehab center, ask if a physical or occupational therapist can conduct a home safety assessment. It can provide you with an objective evaluation of potential hazards that need to be addressed before you get home.
  2. Set goals with the rehab team: As you prepare to transition home, work with the rehab team to set goals and milestones for your continued recovery. It might be walking short distances through your neighborhood or swimming a few laps at the local fitness club to start, adding more as you get stronger. The dietary staff may also have suggestions for you on meal planning. Your body needs healthy food to fuel your recovery. Following the rehab team’s recommendations can help keep your recovery on track.
  3. Have realistic expectations: After a hospital and rehab stay, patients are understandably anxious to get back to their normal routine. Have realistic expectations for how quickly that will happen. Pacing yourself and easing back in to your old life is best. Try to line up some help around the house for the first few weeks after discharge. It may help to talk with the rehab center’s social worker about home care to provide assistance with some daily activities. You don’t want to overdo it and suffer a setback in your recovery.
  4. Follow doctor’s orders: When you leave the rehab center, you will likely do so with discharge instructions. They may include an order for outpatient therapy or follow-up visits to schedule with physicians involved in your care. Make sure you continue your recovery by following those orders.
  5. Manage your medications: One challenge newly discharged patients may face is safely managing their medications. At a rehab center, medication management is done for you. At home, however, you will be in charge of your own medication. This transition requires getting organized. Some patients find medication systems like MedMinder to be helpful. They sound an alert at dosage time to remind you to take your medication. Some will even text a family member if a dosage is missed.
  6. Keep in touch: We understand it can be overwhelming to return home after an illness or surgery. Questions might arise after you’ve been on your own a few days. Our final tip is to call the rehab center or your physician with any questions. Keeping in touch and having a clear idea of what you need to do to continue your recovery is important.

Our Continuum of Care

If you decide you would feel safer in a senior living community instead of at home on your own, The Wesley Community offers a full continuum of care. From independent and assisted living to long-term care, our team can help you determine what level of care best meets your needs. Call us at (518) 587-3600 to learn more.