Staying Connected in a Physical Rehab Center

seniors reading books smiling

During your stay in a post-hospital rehabilitation center, you may find it challenging to keep in touch with your friends and family. To keep your spirits up and your crowd of well-wishers informed, we have some unique ways to communicate with your loved ones while you’re in rehab we’d like to share.

Unique, Easy Ways to Stay in Touch with Friends and Family While in Inpatient Rehab

Video Calls

Phone calls are great, but video phone calls are even better. Seeing the face of a loved one can be a boost to your day and can help you stay motivated in physical therapy.

This is perfect for out-of-town family members and friends, but it can also be a good option for people in the same neighborhood you’re in and want to visit, but are kept away by a busy schedule. If someone expresses an interest to visit you and you know this to be the case for them, you could consider a video chat as a time-saving alternative that still has a personal touch.

Most smartphones have a video call option, but you can also download apps such as Skype, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (all free to download).


Related: 9 Apps to Keep You Entertained in Post-Hospital Rehab



With email, you can either shoot off a quick message when you’re running late for the therapy gym or a community activity, or you can take some time at the end of the day to unwind and share some more of the details.

If you’re not quite feeling up to keeping your group of supporters updated, you could consider asking a close friend or family member to be your “communications manager,” so to speak. That way, when you’re busy with rehab or not in the mood to write a long email with updates, that person can update everyone for you. All of your friends and loved ones will receive the updates they’re waiting for and you’ll be free to focus on your recovery.


Related: Your First 48 Hours in Post-Hospital Rehabilitation


Letter Writing

Writing a letter to a friend using pen and paper can be a very soothing way to spend the afternoon after a busy day of rehab, activities, outings and visits. It can also be good for your health.

Studies show that writing expressively about stressful or emotional events can improve both physical and psychological health. If you are receiving physical therapy for an illness or surgery, chances are you have some stress or emotions to release. Write it all down and send it to an understanding friend.

If you are also receiving occupational therapy in addition to physical therapy (which is something that will be determined in your rehab plan after discussion between you and your care team), writing a letter can be part of that occupational therapy.


Related: Ask the Expert: Types of Post-Hospital Therapy for Seniors


Social Media

Using a social media platform is an easy way of letting a group of people stay up-to-date with your progress without having to send multiple messages. It’s also a great way to help you stay motivated. Post pictures during your recovery to show the progress you’ve made—don’t be shy to celebrate the results of your hard work!

You can post on your personal page so all of your followers can see the updates, but you could also start a private group (if you have a Facebook account) to include all family and friends. That way, everyone will have one central location for news of your recovery.


Don’t hesitate to invite friends and family to the  center you’re staying at. Most centers (including all of Optalis communities) have 24/7 visitation hours, so your guests are welcome to come and go as they please.

You’re also free to leave the center for outings if your therapist gives the green light based on your health and recovery. If a friend would like to come and take you to lunch and your health allows it, this can be a great way to catch up and provide you with a change of scenery.

There’s plenty of scenery within Optalis communities, though. You can enjoy common indoor spaces with your guests or take them outside to the beautiful courtyards with plenty of places to sit and relax.

Book Clubs

If you want to get a little creative, start a book club with a group of friends or family members. Chances are, you won’t be in rehab long enough to finish a book, as the average rehab stay is about 12 days, but rehab can vary depending on your recovery needs.

Regardless of how long you’re in rehab, you could launch a book club during your stay. Start a book with your friends and read it during your rehab downtime. That way, everyone will have something to talk about instead of solely questions about your recovery.

Online Games

Playing online games can be a great way to stay in touch with loved ones during your inpatient rehab stay while having a blast at the same time. Games like Words with Friends or online checkers can help pass the time and keep you close with friends.

Check out these browser games to play on your computer or these apps to play on your smartphone.

The Importance of Staying Connected

The success of your rehab depends for a large part on how motivated you are to stay the course. It’s much easier to stay engaged and energized when you have a support system in place. By using these tips to stay in touch with your loved ones, you’ll be able to avoid feeling isolated and have several fun avenues to brighten both your day and the days of your friends.

Post-Hospital Rehabilitation