Seniors recovering from surgery require extra emotional and physical support. Given their susceptible state, aging individuals who are released from a hospital stay should be monitored closely—especially when they are left unaccompanied at home.
Fortunately, even when alone, recuperating seniors can receive the attention they require to heal. From modifying the home environment to installing smart technology to hiring professional caregivers for after surgery care, families can take steps to “be there” even when they are physically unable to.
How does surgery affect the older individual?
Geriatric patients are especially vulnerable in the days, weeks or months after an operation, since they are more at risk for post-op complications. Families who understand the range of unique issues surrounding surgery in the elderly are more prepared to help them recover at home.
Surgical procedures affect seniors differently than younger people. Older individuals require more time to heal. In comparison to the average patient, recovery in seniors is likely to require extensive rehabilitation, like physical therapy or a brief stay at a rehabilitation facility.
Sleep disturbances that erupt as a consequence of the numerous aftereffects of surgery are a prime concern. Pain and medications often contribute to the lack of sleep in the elderly. Additionally, a change in environment can reduce a senior’s quality of sleep.
Post-operative delirium is a known consequence of surgery in the elderly. Symptoms of this temporary condition include confusion, disorientation and memory problems. Post-op delirium may suddenly manifest a few days after a surgical procedure but usually resolves in a week.
When a senior recovering from surgery experiences sleep disruptions, pain or post-op delirium, families should be ready to provide emotional support, assistance with mobility around the home and focused attention. Providing extra care when the senior is recovering alone at home is challenging but can be accomplished.
How do families prepare the home?
An 80-year-old has just returned from a joint replacement surgery, for instance. Recovery time for a knee or hip replacement is expected to take weeks. Seniors who undergo this type of surgery will likely require help with household chores or shopping for longer than a month.
As a result of the joint replacement surgery, the 80-year-old will also experience a lack of mobility. Preparing the home is essential to accommodating the senior’s situation. Rugs should be removed to prevent slips and falls. Grab bars may be installed in the bathroom to promote steadiness.
Shift an upstairs bedroom to the first floor to avoid challenging stair climbs. Install a ramp if the senior is wheelchair bound for any length of time. Stock the fridge with plenty of fresh produce and foods. Keep in mind that vitamin-rich foods promote wound healing.
How does smart technology help?
Since the senior will be alone for an extended period, one of the most important decisions is to install smart technology in the home. Smart devices give the recovering senior the ability to call for help from anywhere in the home without needing to physically access a phone.
A virtual assistant, like an Alexa device, can place calls to family caregivers, allowing elderly loved ones to let them know they are comfortable. The technology can be programmed to ask the senior questions throughout the day and communicate the answers to loved ones who are not at home.
Voice-based technology can also remind recovering seniors to take their medications on schedule. Such advancements are critical when seniors are at home alone and subject to the likelihood of forgetfulness or inattention when prescribed medicines that are essential to healing.
Isolation is a common predicament for seniors who are recovering from surgery at home alone. Technology plays a huge role in relieving loneliness. Smart speakers can be remotely managed and programmed to encourage seniors to listen to music, ask about the weather and feel connected overall.
Smart sensors are invaluable to families with seniors who spend significant time alone at home after an operation. Motion sensors, for instance, instantly light up a room, preventing the senior from stumbling in the dark. Bed sensors inform family members when the senior is out of bed.
Naturally, families experience fits of worry when their elderly loved ones are alone at home after a surgery. Smart homes equipped with voice control devices replace the families’ angst with peace of mind, while ensuring the recovering seniors are secure and have all their needs met.
How do caregivers provide support?
Families who aim to ensure their senior loved one is recovering optimally at home should invest in the services of a professional caregiver. Available to provide in-home skilled medical care or companion care, professional caregivers provide a human element in the post-surgical recovery period.
Skilled nurses are qualified to handle the medical needs of the recovering senior. Nurses take vital signs, administer medications and change wound dressings. Companion caregivers are ideal when the senior requires help with household chores, preparing a bedroom for quality rest and medication reminders.
Incorporating all or any combination of the above solutions provides seniors with the essential support they need during the post-operative time period.
When your aging loved one is expected to return from a hospital stay, Assisting Hands Home Care professionals will facilitate the senior’s recovery with the most compassionate elder care available. Our post-operative care is comprehensive in nature to ensure the senior’s non-medical care needs are met.
Rather than struggling alone at home, recuperating seniors with caregivers by their side experience better well-being. Assisting Hands Home Care professionals start the caregiving process by transporting seniors from the hospital to their residence. Our caregivers prepare nutritious meals, reduce chances of injury through home safety inspections and drive your loved one to physical therapy appointments.
Being alone at home after surgery can be uneasy for both recuperating seniors and their families. Foster comfort and security in your aging loved one by enlisting the services of a dedicated elder care professional from Assisting Hands Home Care. Our caregivers reliably serve seniors residing in the community of Hinsdale, Illinois.