Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Helping Your Older Loved One Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery

When an elderly loved one undergoes a knee replacement surgery, you might not be sure of how to help them and make their recovery easier. Luckily, there are many things you can do to assist in their healing and make them feel as comfortable as possible. 
The first few days after their surgery will likely be difficult. Your loved one will probably be worn out and even in pain. This, as well as their limited mobility, could make it easy for them to feel frustrated or nervous, as they are unable to get around as well as usual. While they may be upset about losing independence during recovery, this is exactly the time your help is most important. A post-operative senior may need your assistance in getting around, grooming, or cleaning. It is important to be patient and to help your loved one in their hour of need. 
Assist with Medications and Healing
If you are helping with home care, make sure that your loved one takes all of their prescribed medications as directed. If possible, be in attendance when a nurse or doctor explains what mediations are required after the operation. If there are multiple medications, especially if they need to be taken at different times, consider making a calendar to keep everything organized.
After a surgery, senior health also depends on keeping the operation site clean, too. You might need to monitor the wound and take note if there is any inflammation or swelling. If any occurs, reach out to the patient’s medical care provider right away. You might also need to change wound dressings and put together a kit of supplies, such as bandages. 
Help Out Around the House
After a knee replacement surgery, your older family member or friend won’t be able to take care of their home as well as they usually can. If possible, lend a hand and help out with grocery shopping, cooking meals, washing and putting away laundry, and other household chores as needed. 
While providing senior care in the post-recovery stages, it is also important that you make sure your loved one is taking medications correctly, eating the proper foods, and getting enough rest. These components all work together to help support the healing process and ease the burden on your older family member or friend. 
Attend Medical Appointments
If you are taking a lead role in caring for an elderly patient after a knee replacement, you should try to stay in contact with medical providers, too. You can help your loved one by monitoring appointments with both the doctor and the physical therapist. If a knee replacement patient misses any of their appointments, they may experience a setback, or worse, a complication, in their recovery. In addition, it may also help if you manage transportation to and from these appointments. Driving may be difficult or entirely impossible after surgery. 
Perhaps most importantly, a big role you can assume in helping your older loved one recover is providing them with motivation and support. It can be easy to feel down after a surgery that reduces a person’s independence, even if only temporarily. Parents or older loved ones might need some extra inspiration to continue their rehabilitation, exercises, or other routines to facilitate their healing. You can take this opportunity to act as their “cheerleader” and offer them the support and inspiration they need to heal properly and feel as great as they deserve.

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