If your parent has suffered from a concussion due to a fall or blow to his head, recovery can mostly take place at home, but will need to be a slow process as he heals from his injury. In most cases, recovery takes about 7-10 days but if you don’t follow the doctor’s recommendations, it could take longer. Knowing ahead of time what you should be providing as he recovers will help you both be prepared and follow the directions of his doctor for a quick and healthy recovery.
- Avoid unnecessary movement of the neck and head. While normal movement is just fine, your parent will want to
not participate in any activities that may cause him to have to swing his head quickly. One activity that he’ll want to stay away from is driving. If your parent needs rides anywhere, ask his home health care provider or a family member to provide him a ride.
- Get plenty of rest. Your parent should plan on no highly physical activities for at least a week. If your parent is a regular jogger or runner, have him stick with walks as he recovers.
- Take any medications the doctor provides. If your parent’s doctor has prescribed some pain reducers or other medications, it’s important your parent takes what he needs but not too much. Your home health care provider can help with medicine administration if needed to keep your parent on track for the right dosage.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can make recovery take longer and can cause its own side effects which include headaches. Having a large pitcher of water or water bottle near where your parent will spend most of his time recovering will encourage him to stay hydrated.
- Reduce screen time. Eyestrain caused by looking at bright screen too long can compound the after effects of a concussion. Your parent should try to limit the amount of time he spends looking at his phone, a laptop, and even the television. To help promote better sleep as he recovers, he should avoid all screen time for at least two hours before he goes to sleep.
- Avoid bright lights and loud noises. While your parent is recovering is not the time to have all of the grandchildren visit. He needs to reduce his exposure to loud noises or bright lights. This will give his body time to heal and prevent light and sound sensitivity that often comes with a concussion from getting worse.
- Eat foods rich in protein and omega-3s. Amino acids that are in protein have been shown to help improve some of the cognitive symptoms of a concussion. Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial to recovering cognitive function. Have someone like a family member or your home health care provider help prepare meals that contain meat, fatty fish, nuts and legumes to boost your parent’s intake of these beneficial nutrients.
- Finally, be patient. If your parent is a go-getter and likes to take care of himself, it’ll take discipline for him to give his body enough rest to recover completely. Having a good team and rules set up for him will help him succeed in following all the doctor’s recommendations.