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Seniors and Post Surgery – 6 Tips for a Speedy Recovery

NJ Senior Health

Here are some tips to help your elderly loved one recover from surgery:

  1. In the hospital room, whether your parent is uncomfortable and needs attention, or has a sudden turn for the worse, having a caregiver who will immediately get help could have a significant impact on your parent’s recovery.  You can work out a rotation system to provide 24-hour coverage, with each family member or caregiver sitting by the bedside a certain number of hours.
  2. Let your senior know that you are there for them either in person or by finding or paying others.  This will increase the pace of emotional recovery from the surgery.
  3. You should attend post-surgical doctors’ visits with your parent or loved one because they tend to forget what the doctor said or what they wanted to ask. Having someone take notes, ask questions and in general advocate for the patient can be tremendously helpful.  The more you understand about your senior’s condition, the more helpful you can be.
  4. Following post-surgery instructions might be a problem for your elderly loved one.  If this involves dietary changes, let them know that you realize how hard it is, but that you want them to be there for you and your family, and that following doctor’s orders will allow that to happen.  When you eat with your senior, try to restrict your own diet to the one they must follow.   If your senior was told to stop smoking or drinking, do likewise.
  5. When coping with post-surgery sleep problems, talk to the doctor about sleep medications. Relaxation techniques used before surgery have been shown to lower the degree of pain experienced by patients afterward.  The relaxation techniques also help control post-surgical anxiety and enable some patients to sleep better.
  6. You may notice a change in your senior’s personality after surgery.  Older heart surgery patients can become very emotional afterward, cry frequently, and worry about death.  As a result of anesthesia, they may have a difficult time returning to the way they were before the surgery.  In the initial stages, those reactions are normal, but if they continue, then it might be a good idea for you and your senior to seek professional help.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care.  New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ seniors, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have elder care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.