How Seniors and Caregivers Can Prepare for Surgery

Surgery is a serious medical event at any age, and it becomes even more so for people as they age.  Unfortunately, it also seems like people are more likely to require surgery as they get older.  You can make this time go by easier for both yourself and your senior loved one if you prepare ahead of time.

Know What to Expect

Get the facts from your doctor.  Once you have been told about a surgical procedure you will need to go through, you should create a list of questions that you want to ask.  While the internet is a great place to go for research, nothing can replace talking to your own personal doctor who knows your personal history.  Here are some questions you may want to ask.

  • What is the expected recovery time?  Is this average for people in this age group?
  • What is the expected outcome?
  • What are the most likely side effects or complications?
  • What are other side effects or complications that could cause concern?
  • What will the recovery process be like?

While the doctor often answers these questions after the surgery, it is helpful to know them earlier so that you can make plans for post surgery.

During the Hospital Stay

It is also helpful to know how long the person will be in the hospital.  This way, you can make plans for the care of any pets, mail delivery, and other issues that need to be dealt with to lessen the worry of your loved one.  You can also let friends know so they can come and visit if the person feels like having company.

Plan for Recovery Care

Once you know what to expect after your loved one comes home from the hospital, you will know what arrangements to make.  Can they stay by themselves at home or will they need to stay with family or have someone spend time at their home?  Making these decisions ahead of time allows you to plan instead of making last-minute decisions.

You can also cook meals ahead of time and freeze them so that neither the senior nor you will have a lot of tasks to do at the same time for the first few days.  Try to make things easy for both of you so you can focus on the recovery process.  Place things that will be needed in a place that is easy to reach.  Try to save work for both of you and keep hazards out of the way since your loved one will probably be weak and more susceptible to falls.

This is a good time to talk about homecare services.  Even if your loved one has never required help in the past, they may need some assistance until they get their strength back.  The benefit of having homecare services is that your loved ones will not feel like they are burdening you longer than necessary and will still have the help they need.  A non-family caregiver can allow them to feel more independent than relying on family.

Seek Counseling

If you or your loved one are having trouble dealing with a surgery that has an unknown outcome, it can be an emotional time.  You may need to seek professional help to get through the emotions.  You do not want to go into surgery in a negative state of mind.  If the procedure is serious enough for you to be concerned about death, a counselor can help you deal with that issue.

You can find a counselor through the hospital or your religious community.  Contact your local homecare services who will also have a list of professionals that work with the elderly.    You can talk to someone who has been through the surgery and can tell you what to expect. Do not be afraid to admit your fears/concerns and take the time to deal with them.

Surgery is a big deal and it helps if you work it out together rather than either one of you keeping your feelings to yourself.  Lean on each other and other family members for support and allow it to bring you closer as a family.

Carefect Home Care Services can be a valuable resource at this time in your life.  Our caregivers can assist with daily tasks such as personal care, housekeeping, laundry, and running errands.  As your senior begins to recover, the caregivers can help them regain their independence.  Our Services available from as little as 3 hours to 24 hours a day.