Orthopedic surgery to repair injuries or damages to the musculoskeletal system is a common procedure among seniors. Hip, knee and other joint replacement surgeries are now considered among the most common elective surgeries, according to a study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. An estimated 700,000 total knee replacement procedures and 400,000 total hip replacements are done each year in the US.
More than 50 percent of orthopedic surgeries are performed on senior patients who are 65 years and older. In fact, years of medical advances and better techniques have made it possible for total joint replacements to be done on an outpatient basis with senior patients returning home the same day of surgery. Kaiser Health News points to this trend growing as more studies show that recovering at home is a safe alternative.
Of course, there can be extra risks involved for seniors who are recovering at home following surgery. If you are a senior who has an orthopedic surgery on the calendar, keep reading for some essential tips on how to prepare.
Arrange for a Competent and Compassionate Caregiver
Before the surgery, make sure to plan ahead and arrange for a caregiver to help you at home after the surgery. This could be a family member, friend, or a professional caregiver. Doublecheck their schedule to make sure that they are available and have the necessary training to assist you with daily activities, such as dressing, bathing, and preparing meals. Working with a non-medical home care agency like Amada Senior Care ensures you have a trained caregiver who can be relied on for assistance with daily tasks, transportation from the hospital to home, and transportation to follow-up appointments.
Temporary Loss of Mobility Requires a Safe Home Environment
The temporary loss of mobility often accompanies the recovery phase, so safety should be a top priority. In the weeks before surgery, ensure you have a safe home environment by removing any tripping hazards, such as loose carpets, rugs, or wires.
You may also want to install grab bars in the bathroom and consider using a raised toilet seat or shower bench during your recovery time. Consider having a walker, cane or crutches, and any other mobility aids you may need. Long-Term Care insurance policyholders should explore whether their policy includes any benefits that could cover the cost for these or even a home modification that makes the home more accessible for a wheelchair.
Follow Doctor’s Orders for Prescribed Medications and Physical Therapy
Following the doctor’s orders is critical for a successful recovery. Make sure to take all medications as prescribed and attend all follow-up appointments. Additionally, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, which is essential for restoring mobility and strength. Be sure to follow your therapy regimen and communicate any concerns with your healthcare provider.
It’s essential to remain active after surgery, but you should avoid high-impact activities that could worsen your condition. Instead, engage in low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or stationary cycling. Exercise helps prevent blood clots, improve circulation, and maintain muscle strength. Still, check with your doctor first before embarking on any exercise regimen.
Eat a Healthy Diet and Get Enough Rest to Fuel Your Post-Surgery Recovery
A balanced diet is crucial for recovery after surgery. Eat a diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals to promote healing and recovery. Additionally, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, which can slow down the healing process.
Rest is essential for the body to heal and recover. Avoid overexerting yourself and make sure to get plenty of rest throughout the day. Consider taking short naps and try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
Find the Right High-Quality, At-Home Care Support
There’s much to consider when planning for a successful post-surgery recovery at home. If you’re creating an at-home care plan for a senior loved one, you’ll also need to load up on patience as the loss of mobility can deliver a psychological blow to someone used to having their freedom. It can all quickly feel overwhelming, so it makes perfect sense to consider hiring a non-medical, in-home care provider like Amada Senior Care which specializes in long-term care claims advocacy experience and caregiving. Click here to find an Amada Senior Care location near you and speak to one of our friendly and helpful senior care advisors.
“Senior Tips for Recovering at Home After Ortho Surgery,” written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.