The days leading up to a surgery can be daunting and stressful for caregivers and seniors alike. Medication requirements may change and it can be too easy to focus only on the surgery and not the recovery period. But many seniors may need special preparation to help with recovery so their house is accessible.
Depending on the type of surgery, stairs may be completely inaccessible. Seniors with upstairs bedrooms should have a room make up downstairs with either a hospital bed or comfortable couch. After an intensive surgery, time spent on stairs can be dangerous.
Some surgeries require a bland diet before and after surgery or a removal of certain foods. As a caregiver, you can prepare freezer meals and stock the pantry so the appropriate food recommended by the doctor is accessible. Single-serving meals prepared beforehand can also make it easy for a senior to eat and go back to resting.
Some surgeries may necessitate modifications to the house, such as raised toilet seats, shower seats, oxygen tanks or special care items to keep the surgical site clean. Many of these items may be covered through insurance, so ideally you should discuss these with insurance beforehand and have everything ready and installed before the surgery.
A common post-surgery side effect is dizziness, which can make it difficult to walk long distances. This can be treated by making sure daily needs are within reach, nightlights are placed in hallways, the bathroom is accessible and clutter is removed. If floors and counters have unnecessary items on them, then seniors can trip or be unable to prevent a fall.
Consider in-home care
An in-home care provider post-surgery can remove a lot of the burden by helping monitor senior health, do minor housework and be a companion for the senior during recovery.
Resuming normal activities
Post-surgery, seniors may be eager to resume their normal activities. Driving should not be attempted within the first 24 hours since anesthesia needs that long to fully be removed from the system. Additionally, if seniors are light-headed or experiencing bouts of dizziness, they shouldn’t try to drive. Some types of travel shouldn’t be attempted post-surgery for a certain period of time since changes in air pressure can potentially cause complications.
Regular getting up and walking after surgery can help reduce the risk of blood clots. Don’t overdo it, but help your senior get around and move post-surgery can speed their recovery.
What to watch for
Surgical recovery will take time, so don’t overestimate what your senior can do. Keep an eye out for the following problems that will require additional medical intervention:
- Excessive swelling around the surgical site
- Pain that gets worse over time
- Pain or burning when using the bathroom
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Racing heartbeat and elevated blood pressure
With the right amount of preparation, you can make the transition from hospital to home post-surgery a smooth one for your senior.
If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring elderly care in Marietta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.