In many instances, joint replacement surgery remains the only option for older adults with osteoarthritis. Post-op seniors often heal faster when allowed to transfer out of the hospital and into their homes. Here are a few simple ways to help an aging loved one recover from joint replacement surgery.
Consider the Basics
Prepare the home in advance of your loved one’s arrival. If your parent lives in a multi-storied home, he or she may feel more comfortable in a room on the first floor. Make sure the bed, bedside commode, and toilet are not too high. Have extra pillows and ice packs on hand. Place the TV remote, cell phone, and other devices within reach and ensure the room provides a peaceful environment for sleep. Remove obstacles from pathways to prevent falls and provide assistance with sitting, standing, and lying down as needed. Your loved one may also need help with personal hygiene routines.
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Address Medical Needs
Get the necessary bandage materials, gauze, and tape for dressing changes. Evaluate the surgical site for inflammation, swelling, bruising, or drainage on a daily basis. Over time, visible trauma should begin to fade. An increase in redness, swelling, and heat on the site should be reported to the doctor.
Assist with Household Chores
After the surgery, your loved one may need a lot of rest to facilitate healing, which means you’ll likely need to perform various household chores and prepare nutritious meals while he or she recovers. Providing help with daily tasks goes a long way toward speeding up the recovery process.
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A few weeks after the surgery, seniors are often advised to perform simple physical activities and attend rehab. Activities may include walking for a designated amount of time each day. Initially, movement may cause pain, so your loved one might be reluctant to complete the rehab plan. Offer support and encouragement as needed, provide medication to minimize discomfort, and keep a journal of your loved one’s progress as motivation.
Attend Follow-Up Appointments
Post-op appointments with physicians and therapists are necessary for monitoring the healing process and detecting possible health concerns. Keep track of upcoming appointments on a calendar, and attend appointments with your loved one. Report any abnormal symptoms from the incision site and side effects with medications. If you have any questions or concerns, write them down to get the answers you seek.
Manage Financial Concerns
Be prepared to help your loved one with routine monthly bills and medical expenses. By assuming responsibility for financial matters, your loved one may have less to worry about and can concentrate on healing.
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