Research suggests that one of the most important factors associated with functional decline is the number of days off from regular activity, with more days off associated with a greater decrease in decline.
1. Keep Mobile! If it is safe and you able, try to keep mobile and continue to perform tasks you are usually able to do while recovering from the flu.
- For example, this could include getting up and getting dressed in the morning or walking around your house with or without assistance.
2. Avoid being “catered to.” If it is safe, continue to do the activities you are usually able to do independently.
3. Attempt getting out of bed. If it is safe and you are able, getting out of bed can help to prevent bed sores and loss of strength, and improve mood, sleep, circulation, and breathing.
4. Stay social! Staying at home while recovering from illness doesn’t mean we can’t socialize. Try a phone call, Zoom or Facetime to stay connected with family and friends.
5. Maintain a healthy diet! Maintaining a healthy diet is an important aspect of preventing functional decline. If you are able, continue to prepare meals, or ask a family member or friend for support. Community programs, like Meals on Wheels, are also available to provide nutritional support to older adults who are convalescing from surgery or illness.
6. Manage any chronic conditions. The flu can exacerbate chronic conditions, resulting in increased likelihood of complications from the flu and hospitalization (and therefore further functional decline). Staying on top of your medications and doctor visits can help to manage chronic conditions and reduce risk of functional decline.
7. Be aware of your environment. Acute illness and hospitalization increase falls risk. Always ensure you are wearing proper footwear in your home and be aware of your home environment- such as clearing cluttered hallways.