Surgery can be a stressful prospect for anyone of any age. When a senior undergoes surgery, however, recovery can be more complex than that of a younger person due to a variety of different factors.
According to Today’s Caregiver, seniors are at an increased risk for complications both pre- and post-surgery. Seniors often experience prolonged healing due to susceptibility to possible infection, lack of mobility or other complications.
Ensuring a smooth recovery after surgery is paramount for seniors due to these increased risks of possible health complications. Here, you’ll find helpful planning tips you can employ to make sure your loved one has as peaceful a recovery as possible.
1. Properly Prepare the Home
If your loved one is returning home following surgery, take appropriate steps to ensure the home is safe and everything is accessible.
This includes the removal of any rugs or end tables that could enable falls or be in the way of a clear walking path. Make sure television remotes, books, phones and any other items they frequently use are within reach of where they are sitting.
If your loved one lives in a home where their bedroom is on the second floor, consider creating a bedroom for them on the ground floor so they don’t have to endure an exhausting haul upstairs.
Recovering from surgery is difficult enough, so eliminating any and all obstacles on the home front will aid in a safe and comfortable recovery for your loved one.
2. Stock Up on Nutritious Food
A healthy diet can go a long way in benefiting recovery from surgery. Making sure the kitchen is stocked with the right foods or even pre-cooked meals in the freezer can save you a lot of time and hassle post-surgery.
The doctor may even request your loved one be on a specific diet following their surgery, so being aware of this and discussing it with their physician prior to surgery is never a bad idea. Preparation is everything.
Formulating an emergency call list and placing it in an accessible place is also a precaution you could take as your loved one may need immediate assistance in the case of a fall or medical complication.
3. Ensure Proper Tools Are on Hand
Depending on the type of surgery, your loved one may need tools that you don’t normally have and need to acquire.
Speaking with their physician can give you a better idea of the personalized items your loved one will need to help guarantee a comfortable recovery from surgery.
Below you’ll find a list of common items seniors may need:
- A wheelchair
- Bed with adjustable frame
- Compression socks
- Leg braces
- Shower chair
- Rails in the shower
- Pill organizer
- Gait belt
- Medical alert system
These tools and any others you may specifically need can be beneficial to a loved one’s post-surgery care. The various items listed can aid in the prevention of falls, increased accessibility and mobility, and a speedier overall recovery.
4. Stay on Top of All Follow-Up Appointments
It never hurts to have multiple ears in attendance at doctor appointments. Even if your loved one’s memory is keen, they may not remember all the news or instructions provided to them at a follow-up.
If you’re a primary caregiver and you want all up-to-date information or the ability to ask questions when you have them, then accompanying your loved one to their physician’s office is perfectly okay.
You may even find it beneficial to take notes at follow-up appointments so that you can ensure nothing is skipped, missed or misunderstood in the realm of doctor’s orders.
5. If You Need Help, Ask for It
Caring for a loved one recovering from surgery can be an exhausting endeavor, and it may even be something you’ve never handled before. If you’re having a difficult time navigating post-surgery care, there is absolutely no shame in hiring some help.
There are many home health avenues you can explore if you’re feeling overwhelmed, such as a registered nurse or home health aide.
Hiring an in-home caregiver can provide you with relief and offer peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in the care of a health care professional.
6. Maintain Patience and Understanding
When a loved one is recovering from surgery, they may become withdrawn, depressed or frustrated with their situation. It’s important that when this happens, you have patience and understanding, support them in their feelings and withdraw from pushing them one way or the other.
A smooth recovery will only take place if there is open discussion, willingness to listen and supportive engagement with a loved one who may be confused or frustrated with their recovery situation.
How Griswold Rehabilitation and Health Care Can Help
The staff at Griswold Rehabilitation and Health Care are dedicated to uplifting spirits and encouraging a healthy and happy lifestyle for all of our residents.
Our community provides long-term care and rehabilitation among our various levels of care. We offer occupational therapy and activity programs that are designed to foster engagement to ensure a comfortable and rewarding recovery.
We are here to offer assistance, answer questions and guide you through the process of senior living. If you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation, we would love to help you in any way that we can.