Recovering from Surgery: Tips for Elderly Patients

senior woman with headache

Modern techniques and procedures have made surgery safer than ever before, but recovering from surgery is still a difficult and physically demanding time, especially for elderly patients. Here are some effective ways to make sure any home surgery recovery is the healthiest, quickest, and most comfortable it can be.

Keeping Away Infections

By far the biggest risk after a surgery is getting a post-operative infection. The immune system is often at its weakest in this period, and the elderly will find that they simply don’t have the strength to fight off even low-grade infections.

To give the body a fighting chance, it’s recommended that you:

  • Reduce or quit smoking.
  • Familiarize yourself with early signs of infections like swelling, redness, and fever.
  • Keep the recovery area and home spotlessly clean.
  • Wear a mask and avoid spreading any of your own illnesses if you’re a caregiver.
  • Wash and sterilize the operated area regularly and change dressings as advised by the doctor.
  • Take medicine according to a prescribed
  • Try to get as many nutrients as possible with a balanced diet.

Making Adjustments

Preparation is key to a successful recovery. Surgery is a stressful experience, even when it’s minor, so having your home ready and making the necessary life adjustments before surgery even begins will make the recovery process that much easier.

Before you or your elderly loved one comes home to recuperate, make sure you consider:

  • Having a safe environment in place for those in a frail or weak state, including non-slip mats, emergency bells, and handrails.
  • Writing out a complete schedule for meals, caregiving, transport, and checkup appointments.
  • Purchasing any additional support items the patient might need like crutches, wheelchairs, bandages, and home hospital tables.
  • Clearing tripping and slipping hazards from all floors and pathways.
  • Hiring additional home help.
  • Making a collection of their favorite things to pass the time during recovery like books, music, movies, knitting, and other entertainments.
  • Preparing a list of questions you might have for the doctor and making sure you have all of their recommendations and instructions.

Understanding the Limitations

Surgery recovery can often be highly frustrating, simply because you can’t do all the things you used to be able to do, but it’s important to fight through this frustration and stick to any limitations that have been ordered by the surgeon. All it takes is one overextension for stitching to open up and for you to have to start the recovery process all over again.

It’s important to keep in mind:

  • How much physical activity you’re allowed to do.
  • What movements you can and can’t perform—like bending over after cataract surgery.
  • What position your body should be in while resting, and which body parts should be elevated.
  • How much reaching is required to get the things you need, and whether there’s a better way to arrange them.
  • What types and temperatures of food and drink you should avoid.

female doctor helping bedridden elderly woman

Recover Comfortably with the atHand® Overbed Table System

Make bed rest comfortable with the atHand® Overbed Table System. This highly versatile hospital table for home makes sure everything is always within reach, saving recovering elderly patients from overstretching and giving them their independence back. With multiple drawers, shelves, and power sockets for every piece of entertainment, it can make a long surgery recovery easier for everyone.

Want to help your loved ones? Get started in our online shop, or contact us for more information.