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10 simple ideas that can make difference to someone in hospital in February

February can be a pretty depressing month for most of us. But for people in hospital, it can feel particularly gloomy. Here are some of our thoughts on how to raise a bit of happiness by highlighting how easy it can be to brighten someone's day.

  1. When visiting someone in hospital, think about adding a splash of colour to that black, brown or grey outfit most of us wear at this time of year. A bright jumper, hat, scarf or tie, patterned tights, or some eye-catching jewellery can not only bring a smile, but can also be a conversation starter. People appreciate anything that shows you made an effort.
  2. As we all know, the weather has been awful recently and the media coverage has been huge. Often, older people in hospital feel completely disconnected from the outside world. They either struggle to operate the TV, or are worried about the cost of it, and their sight may too poor to manage newspaper print. For someone who feels too poorly to concentrate for any length of time, bringing in a newspaper with photos of giant waves , flooding or the snow. is a simple way of explaining what's going on in the outside world.
  3. Glossy magazines, reflecting the festivals, fashions, food and flowers of a particular season are also a great way of lifting the spirits of someone who doesn't have the energy to concentrate on a book or the TV.
  4. Many people need huge encouragement to drink enough fluids. Check with the person in charge to see if you can bring in a small basket with their favourite cartons or cans of long-life juice etc. and leave it by the bedside. If you come at teatime, ask if you can have a cup too. Drinking tea together is far more sociable.
  5. Digital picture frames can hold hundreds of pictures at a time. Gently rotating the photographs by a bedside enables someone who is too frail to handle an album, the opportunity to enjoy the latest or classic family photographs. Be aware, though, that some people with dementia may find the ever-changing picture confusing.
  6. Old films, musicals and classic TV series can trigger old memories and are a brilliant way to brighten up the days. So, why not rummage around your own collection, or see what the sales have on offer, then check with the ward manager to see if you can bring in a DVD player, laptop or tablet computer, and enjoy watching them together. You could even make an occasion of it and bring in some ‘interval’ refreshments (if allowed) to increase the nostalgia.
  7. Many of us may mean to visit someone but don’t always get round to doing it. Making that extra effort will not only make a huge difference to your relative or friend, it will make you feel better too.
  8. Before you visit, ring the ward, or close relatives, to check if there is anything you can bring in that might be of particular use to the patient. Space is limited by the bedside, so bringing something they really need can be hugely helpful.
  9. If you know your loved one would appreciate a visit from an older friend who may worry about driving on cold, dark winter evenings, help them out by offering that friend a lift.
  10. Finally, if visiting isn’t a possibility, sending a cheerful card, letter or small gift through the post is a simple way to make someone feel they haven’t been forgotten. ALWAYS CHECK WITH WARD STAFF IF ANY IDEA INVOLVES ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT
Jill Fraser

Jill Fraser

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