Post-surgery, seniors have a range of emotional and physical needs. Make preparations beforehand and talk with your loved one’s doctor. This is how to help someone after surgery.

Emotional Needs

Your loved one may feel isolated. It is common for seniors to display depression and inability to sleep in response to the trauma of surgery. You can help in the following ways.

• Set up voice chat and voice recognition programs on his/her computer.
• Make sure magazines, books and TV programs are easily accessible.
• If insomnia or depression persists, seek advice about medication and therapy options.
• Encourage your loved one to do small things for his or herself as strength returns.
• Accompany your loved one on doctor visits and take notes. Seniors may forget instructions and questions they wish to ask.

Physical Needs

Seniors will need assistance with everyday tasks. Prior to surgery, you may need to install ramps or rails and rearrange furniture to allow easy movement. These tasks will also be necessary.

• Follow the doctor’s instructions regarding diet and food preparation.
• Seek advice about the best ways to meet hygiene needs, particularly if a cast, stitches or other obstacles make showering difficult.
• Encourage your loved one to do light movements as much as possible to promote circulation and healing. Even circling arms in bed is better than remaining motionless.
• Maintain a cleaning and washing routine until the senior can once again do chores.

Time Out

Especially if you are caregiving for a parent, the role reversal can be difficult. It is therefore important that caregivers take time out when necessary. Do not hesitate to seek assistance from professional aged care providers on a part-time basis. In the long-term, both you and your loved one will benefit.

Image credit: "Being a patient is involuntary" (cropped) by Ted Eytan. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

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