Do you care for an elderly relative? If so, there’s plenty of support to access. It can be a tough job but ultimately rewarding. Also, it’s like the wheel of life coming full circle. Our parents or other relatives cared for us when we were young, so it’s only fitting that we care for them as they age. Yet what happens after surgery? It can be a tricky time, as postoperative care is essential to a full fighting recovery. So, read on to find out about how you can create a simple, easy to follow post-surgery care plan for an ageing loved one.
It’s important that you seek support early on so that you don’t become overwhelmed with your caring duties. You can consider respite care which enables you to take a break and come back recharged and refreshed. If you have siblings or cousins who live close by consider enlisting their help. Also, your spouse or children (if they’re all grown up) may also want to pitch in and help their relative too.
Consult With The Doctor
The first step after seeking support is to consult with the treating medical team who should be able to advise you on the next steps for caring for your relative. These are the qualified and trained medical professionals and it’s their job to set you on the right course.
Ensure They Have Enough Medication
Some surgeries require extensive medication afterwards, to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk of infection. Speak with the treating doctor to ensure that your elderly relative is sent home with sufficient medication for a few weeks to avoid a late night trip to the pharmacy.
Assist With Medication
Coming out of surgery and the effects of anesthetic can make you groggy and forgetful. It may be a bit much to expect your loved one to be able to remember to take which pills when. Help them by developing a medication schedule so they take the right pill at the right time. Your local chemist may be able to help by packing a Webster pack for your relative.
Take Them to Appointments
Some surgeries require intensive aftercare and rehabilitation, like joint replacement, brain, or open heart surgery. Make yourself available to ferry your aging loved one to and from these appointments, especially if they haven’t been given the all clear to drive yet.
Involve Their Friends
Everyone likes visitors when they’re sick. Connect with your aging relative’s friends and support networks to organise a steady roster of visitors. Be sure to space them out though, recovery is exhausting enough without having to entertain loads of guests!
If Things Go Wrong
Sometimes complications can arise days or even weeks after a surgical procedure. If things do seem wrong or your loved one complains of persistent symptoms then don’t hesitate, call 000 immediately or drive them to the closest emergency room. It’s better to be safe than sorry and you want to trust their care to the trained staff in the health system.
There We Are
Remember that it’s okay to seek support if you need. Consult with the treating team prior to discharge, and ensure your loved one has enough medication and help them manage their pills. Take them to their appointments and invite some of their friends to visit. If things go wrong don’t hesitate to contact emergency services or take them to the nearest hospital. And remember to give them all your love and support, because they’ll need it.