Although people over the age of 65 make up about 17 percent of the population in the United States, data shows this age group undergoes the largest number of surgical procedures. An estimated 53 percent of all surgeries are performed on older adults. Seniors are at risk of complications after surgery and require care to prevent these problems from occurring.
Be Prepared Ahead of Time
Take the time to prepare before your senior loved one comes home. Pick up any prescription medications he or she will need so you won’t have to leave him or her to get them. If the doctor prescribes any durable medical equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker, and the hospital isn’t going to provide it, get this ahead of time as well.
Create a Quiet, Comfortable Space
Your loved one will likely be in pain after returning home from the hospital or surgical center. Keep your parent as comfortable as possible by creating a quiet space for him or her. Include plenty of pillows your parent can adjust, stock up on his or her favorite foods, and make sure your loved one has a cell phone within reach in case he or she needs help and you’re in another part of the home.
Hiring a professional caregiver is a good way to support your parent’s recovery process. Senior care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Help Your Loved One Manage Pain
Your loved one may not want to take pain medication because it might make him or her feel drowsy or lethargic. Managing pain levels can help your loved one heal. Encourage your parent to take medications as directed, and lock away any opioids to ensure they aren’t abused. Ice packs and heating pads may also be recommended to help with the pain.
Post Care Instructions in a Visible Place
Your loved one’s doctor will provide post-surgical care instructions. These instructions may include resting, icing the incision site, moving regularly, and taking medications. Make a copy of these instructions and post them in a visible spot, such as on a bathroom mirror or the refrigerator, so they’re easy for family members and other caregivers to find.
Older adults who need help recovering from surgery can benefit from professional in-home care. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Tucson families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
If you’re sharing the responsibilities of caring for your loved one with a family member, friend, or outside caregiver, communication is key. Use a simple notebook to document what was done during the time you provided care. This should include any medications or food given to your loved one, whether any vital signs were taken, and what you did for your loved one. Include any concerns you may have so other caregivers can follow up.
Make Sure Your Loved One Attends All Post-Op Appointments
Post-op appointments are important to ensure your loved one is healing properly after the surgery. If you aren’t able to take your loved one to these appointments, find another family member or a friend who can help.
Be Aware of Possible Complications
Complications, such as infections, may occur after surgery. If your loved one experiences any of the following, call the doctor right away:
- Redness or swelling at the incision site
- Fluid or pus draining from the incision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Extreme pain
- Breathing difficulties
Caring for a recuperating senior can take a toll on a caregiver’s own health. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Tucson families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (520) 214-5440.