Almost all of us have had the first-hand experience of being shut in the house during quarantine. While the pandemic restrictions are starting to lift and many of you are starting to enjoy freedom outside again, there are still those who will remain homebound.
The reasons some shut-ins remain within the confines of their homes are many. Maybe they are convalescing or recovering from illness. Or perhaps they are elderly and the opportunity to get out isn’t easily available to them. There are other situations when people opt to stay inside on their terms because the prospect of venturing out in public is unsavory for them. Whatever the case may be, there are steps you can take to make life better for housebound folks in need.
Ideas to Make Life Easier for Those Who Are Homebound
There are virtually endless instances when you can volunteer to make the cloistered life of a shut-in easier, happier, and healthier. Here are a few helpful tips to improve the quality of a shut-in’s life and make them smile.
Get Handy: Whether isolation is voluntary or mandatory, all shut-ins have one thing in common…their whole world is centered around their place of residence. Making someone who is homebound feel better can be as simple as volunteering to clean his or her living space. A good spring cleaning can work wonders on a shut-in’s outlook and mood. If you’re handy, offer to do some home improvements or repairs. Volunteer to fix that leaky pipe under the sink, or glue down those linoleum tiles that keep peeling up off the floor. You get the idea. These may seem like little actions, but to a shut-in, they reap huge benefits to their quality of life.
Food Therapy: While services like Meals-on-Wheels cater to the elderly shut-ins in our society, there are other circumstances in which healthy food is needed for those who are homebound. You could drop off a nutritious meal to these people in need, however, why not go beyond the call of duty by cooking for them? Better yet, offer them a meal-making experience and share quality time while cooking up healthy meals together. If you can do this with your shut-in, make sure to make plenty of food that can be frozen or stored so he or she can enjoy meals in the future.
Gift Baskets: Although grocery delivery services are more available now than ever, some shut-ins do not have the opportunity to get basic supplies delivered to their home. When checking in on the homebound, make sure they have plenty of essential goods such as toilet paper, light bulbs, or first aid supplies. You can take this a step further by creating a gift basket containing pampering self-care products such as luxurious moisturizers, an exfoliating glycolic body wash, scented bath salts, or aromatherapy oils. Handmade deluxe gift baskets like this cater to the needs of whomever you are caring for and are a thoughtful way to show you care.
Pet Therapy: Loneliness is a serious factor for many shut-ins, and in some cases, this demographic is uncomfortable around other people. That’s when AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) can make a big impact on the lives of those who are homebound. Bearing in mind your shut-in isn’t allergic or doesn’t already have a pet, AAT can be a heartwarming and joyful way to eradicate depression and loneliness. Just be sure you have permission from the person who is housebound to introduce a pet. Also, make sure the pet is current on all vaccines and has the temperament for therapy.
Game Time: As mentioned, a side-effect of being sequestered from society is feeling alone or isolated. If the homebound person you are caring for is amenable to social interactivity, why not suggest sharing quality time by playing a few games together? Haul out the board games or a deck of cards and spend an afternoon laughing over a friendly game of dominos or gin rummy. Games have a way of facilitating socialization, improving emotional health, and can put a smile on both of your faces.
Closing Thoughts About Helping Shut-Ins Feel Better
When you’re thinking about helping those who are homebound, be sure to take time to understand the person you are trying to support. Many shut-ins tend to be extremely private or even anti-social. If this is the case, get imaginative about ways you can help. Also, always ask permission before taking action. While you may love surprises, some housebound folks aren’t always keen about changes in or around their homes without having prior knowledge first. Whatever you decide to do about improving the lives of those living in isolation, be thoughtful and respectful to whomever you are trying to help.