Start by asking the recovering person to participate in a positive behavioral intervention to get them back into the world like they were before the illness.
A) Once they agree sit and make a list of activities that they love to do, 1) right now during a period of low activity and re-adaptation; and, 2) and generally in their lives. You know this person well and so do they. The goal here is to develop a list of things that they really love and love to do. For example, renting or going to movies, having poetry read to them; getting a 10 minute back rub or massage “etc”; what about favorite healthy treats or snacks this person absolutely loves, is it a type of fruit or healthy free trade chocolate?
B) Once you have your list done of at least 20 high-reward items/activities (and you’ve really enjoyed making the list, thinking and fantasizing together) it’s time to make a graded list of activation goals or things that this person needs to start doing. Don’t chose to many at once and don’t choose activities that are too hard. It’s all about successive approximations to the desired end behavior; - it’s about baby steps.
C) Now take a day planner on paper or computer and make a schedule that includes 1 or 2 of the above identified activation targets. You can experiment with by adding new tasks each day very gradually and/or you can gradually increase the time spent on each activity by adding a few minutes each time. You have to work with this person and see what works best. Again, babe steps are the rule here.
D) Each time your person follows through on the target activation behavior, immediately deliver a reward from the reward list. Its best to provide the rewards, which through prioritization, you have identified are the most deeply gratifying or enjoyable, say a small piece of high quality chocolate paired with a deep 10 minute relaxing massage. It’s very important to deliver the reward as close to the follow through on the target behavior as possible. Verbal praise and humor are very effective in this mix also. As you gradually add and expand tasks, your loved one will be doing even more than they were before they were sic in the first place. When you’re partner is really starting to get back into the swing of things, make a reward list and self -improvement goals for yourself and have your partner reward you for follow-through and then just wait and see what happens!