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Photo by eberhard 🖐 grossgasteiger on Unsplash

“Live every day to the fullest.” While you’ve probably heard this saying before, it can have different meanings to different people.   

For example, people living in palliative care have daily challenges dealing with severe health conditions like cancer, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s. Still, you can take steps to stay active in your day-to-day life.

When a healthcare worker provides a relative with palliative care for a terminal disease, the family’s support is critical. Visit this website to learn more about how mothers assist their families.

Please keep reading to discover daily activities you or a loved one can add to everyday life.  

What Exactly Is Palliative Care?

Some experts estimate that over 90 million Americans are living with serious illnesses, according to the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). Some experts project this number will double during the next 25 years as the “baby boomers” age.     

Palliative care is a particular type of specialized medical care for individuals living with serious illnesses. The care focuses on providing relief from an illness’ symptoms and stress. Palliative care aims to improve the patient’s and family’s quality of life. 

Specially-trained healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses provide palliative care. These individuals offer healthcare services based on the patient’s needs rather than the course of their disease. 

Specialists can provide palliative care to individuals regardless of age and stage of a severe illness. Such timeframes include “end of life” care during the late stages of severe diseases.

Healthcare professionals can provide palliative care and treatments and therapies for symptoms at the same time.

Before purchasing healthcare services for your loved one with a severe illness, it is important to learn the palliative care basics. 

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)

People in palliative care can still live independently when receiving assistance as needed. 

An essential aspect of daily life is instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Such tasks include skills that individuals must complete after they get out of bed, get dressed, and prepare themselves for the day. 

People in palliative care complete IADLs to maintain themselves and their homes. Completing IADLS is a way to measure how much assistance you need. 

In contrast, activities of daily living (ADLs) are basic self-care tasks like bathing. IADLs require more complex planning and thinking than ADLs.

Possible Daily Activities in Palliative Care

Rest and Sleep

In palliative care, a provider can improve your rest and sleep by observing your sleeping habits and sleep/wake cycle. This process can help ensure you get sufficient sleep and rest for your daily activities. 

You can also use relaxation techniques like yoga and breathing exercises to improve comfort, rest, and sleep. Sleeping and resting in the proper position can also help reduce pressure-caused skin breakdown. 

One issue to consider is that people with terminal illnesses often experience sleep problems. Fortunately, patients can take steps to improve their quality of sleep. 

Leisure Activities

You can still enjoy leisure activities in your daily life even if you’re under palliative care. Still, you may have to modify previous activities or look for alternatives. 

Patients with terminal illnesses can also use different methods to improve their participation in leisure activities, including:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Coping strategies
  • Anxiety management
  • Time management
  • Activity pacing 

Here are some leisure activities to consider: 

  • Cooking and baking 
  • Interactive video games
  • Self-care
  • Clubs 
  • “Brain games” and puzzles
  • Creating art 
  • Listening to music 
  • Pet therapy 
  • Reading books or e-books

Exercise Activities 

Staying active can provide many benefits for people in palliative care. 

In some situations, physical exercise can help relieve or reduce symptoms of your health condition. Some possible benefits of physical exercise include ones related to your physical and mental health.

Staying active can provide various benefits if you have a severe illness, including: 

  • Increase energy 
  • Make muscles stronger
  • Reduce symptoms like fatigue and pain 
  • Relax the mind
  • *Improve sleep quality 
  • Boost mood
  • Reduce anxiety and stress 
  • Improve concentration and alertness 

Here are some options for physical exercise while in palliative care: 

  • Tai chi
  • Pilates 
  • Water aerobics 
  • Walking  
  • Resistance band workouts 
  • Chair Yoga 
  • Gardening 
  • Swimming
  • Golf
  • Fishing 

You should consult your physician before launching a new workout routine. They can guide you on any precautions or modifications to use when exercising. 

Also, your doctor or healthcare team can determine whether a particular exercise is appropriate based on your illness. 

One of the primary factors to ponder is your energy levels. You may have more energy on some days than others. Make sure to “listen to your body.” This step can help determine whether to scale your exercise up or down. 

Social Activities 

People often say that “no man is an island.” 

Socialization can provide many health benefits for people in palliative care, such as the elderly. These activities provide quality time spent with friends, relatives, and community members. 

For example, social activities can help prevent the patient from feeling lonely, isolated, or depressed. Besides that, socialization can also improve your overall sense of well-being. 

Here are some social activities you can enjoy while in palliative care:

  • Group exercise
  • Live music 
  • Wii sports 
  • Field trips 
  • Lectures
  • Hobbies 
  • Continuing education 
  • Gardening clubs 
  • Spa days
  • Book clubs 
  • Walking clubs

Peruse our website today to provide an extra layer of support for your loved one with a severe illness. Also, visit our palliative care news page. 


1. Palliative care: facts and stats


2. Keeping active