Aging slows us down, and surgeries can make things even more difficult for seniors.
Suddenly, activities of daily life can seem impossible to accomplish. Home care after surgery is incredibly important. Not only does it encourage things like proper muscle function and prevent wound infection, but it also keeps the person safe and helps keep pain relief safe and consistent.
Whether you’re providing assistance for someone on the job or a friend or family member, it’s important you understand how to make home care after surgery effective. By following a few helpful elderly care tips, you can help them feel at home after surgery and heal quickly and effectively.
1. Get Prepared with the Right Tools
There are certain tools you’ll need to ensure healing is able to be promoted. They’ll come home with medications for things like pain relief, but you can do everyone a favor by getting some things ready on the home front.
Just a few things you can have on hand for when they come home include:
- Compression socks
- Leg braces
- Wheel chair
- Adjustable bed
- Shower chairs
Of course, this list is not comprehensive. That’s because every case is different, and the items you’ll need to have prepared will differ from those of the patient next door. To ensure you’re properly prepared, take some time to speak with your loved one’s doctor before they are discharged. They’ll be able to help you create a more personalized list to ensure you’re not scrambling to find the tools you need at the last minute.
2. Understand Sleeping Problems After Surgery
Surgery can really disrupt normal, everyday life. It’s easy to forget the struggle someone is going through after you hear they made it through the surgery, but even things like a good night’s rest can be hard to achieve.
Sleeping problems after surgery not only prevent your loved one from getting some shut eye, but they can also:
- Lead to post surgical depression
- Prevent proper muscle function
- Slow recovery
A sleep mask and ear plugs can do wonders in helping your loved one drown out environmental factors that prevent sleep. After all, they probably have additional people in the home helping, and they aren’t used to it. An adjustable bed or extra pillows can allow them to customize their elevation and increase comfort. If all else fails, consider speaking with their doctor about sleep medications.
3. Keep Things Clean
When considering how to heal faster, you mustn’t overlook the fact that your loved one’s immune system could be compromised. This makes them much more susceptible to illness and infection. When healing well is the goal, it’s imperative that you don’t overlook sterilization of the recovery area.
Just a few things you can do include:
- Place disposable gloves near the entrance for people to put on when attending.
- Empty trash frequently.
- Wipe down all surfaces with bleach water or other disinfectants.
- Clean all bedding frequently.
- Mop the floors with bleach water.
4. Be Aware of Post Surgical Depression
Post surgical depression is a complication that can arise following any type of surgery and at any age. Unfortunately, many doctors fail to warn patients of the possibility it could strike.
Just a few factors that lead to this issue include:
- Side effects of anesthesia
- Facing death
- Reaction to medication
- Physical and emotional stress
If your loved one is more fatigued than their doctor says is normal, is highly irritable, doesn’t have an appetite, or sleeps all day and night, they could be suffering from depression. Speak with their doctor and encourage them to spend time outdoors and with friends and family.
5. Surgery Wound Infection: How to Heal Faster
Surgery wounds can and do become infected, and this prevents a speedy recovery. That’s why it’s so important to keep a close eye on the incision site to prevent surgery wound infection.
Follow these steps to encourage healing:
- Wash the wound gently with mild soap and water.
- Avoid scrubbing and soaking the wound.
- Don’t use agents like iodine, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide since they can damage the tissue.
- Don’t apply dressing until the wound is completely dry.
6. Prevent Injury in the Home
One of the worst things that can happen to a senior following surgery is to become injured. They will be debilitated, so getting around the house will pose new challenges. You can do a world of good by taking some time to examine the house prior to their arrival and getting it ready for them.
Just some of the things to be on the lookout for include:
- Areas of clutter
- Cables and cords that could cause them to trip and fall
- Dirty floors
- Areas of moisture buildup that could lead to slips
Seniors have had decades to accumulate things, and it’s often the case their home becomes full of the objects that remind them of their many happy memories. It may be necessary to take some time to reorganize or even remove items if necessary to make the home as accessible as possible.
7. Addressing Swelling after Surgery
Swelling after surgery is a sign something’s wrong, and you can help when you know what it means. You don’t want to scare your loved one without merit, and some swelling is normal and results from increased movement of fluid and white blood cells. However, in other situations, it can be a sign of infection or other problems.
Mild swelling will typically go away on its own. However, if the swelling is concerning, some things you can do include:
- Encourage them to walk around every couple of hours if it’s safe to do so.
- Encourage proper fluid intake.
- Limit salt intake.
- Elevate the swollen area when your loved one lounges.
If swelling persists or gets worse, it’s a good idea to talk to their doctor.
8. Offer Your Support
During recovery, just being there works wonders. Your loved one is likely scared and uncertain. Many family members and friends get back to their daily lives once the person is out of the hospital. What they fail to consider is that surgery addresses the catalyst of the problem, but the body is left to heal, for the most part, on its own.
There will be follow up appointments, and these offer a great opportunity for you to better understand how your loved one is reacting to the surgery and what you can do specifically to help them get back to life as normal. You can also address questions and concerns while you’re there. You may be surprised at what you can learn.
Recovery from Surgery with Minimal Complications
Healing well is exactly what you want for your loved one. Things like swelling after surgery and wound infection is not only common, but it can turn dangerous. Surgery is meant to improve health, not make it worse.
Now that you’ve read these helpful elderly care tips, you’re one step closer to offering recovery from surgery that will help the senior in your life get back on their feet and enjoying their golden years.