Post-Surgery Recovery Tips for Seniors
With nearly 78 million members of the Baby Boomer generation moving into their golden years, there is an increasing focus on the care of aging Americans in communities across the country. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over 12 percent of the U.S. population is over the age of 65 and that half of those people will have at least one surgical procedure during their lifetime.
As medical science expands its limits to continue to support the aging population, surgeries are more frequent and, in general, less risky. While older Americans are at a higher risk for complications during and after surgery, there are many things that can be done to reduce risk and help pave the way for a smooth outcome. If you or a senior loved one are facing a surgical procedure, it is important to know what you can do to set yourself up for success as you recover.
Common Questions After Surgery
Recovering from surgery is an uncertain time. Recovery time and the level of care needed will largely depend on the type of surgery you had, how smoothly the surgery went and your overall health prior to the procedure. All those things considered, there are quite a few popular questions frequently asked by patients planning a surgery. Those include:
What helps you heal faster after surgery?
Following most surgeries, it is important to have a diet rich in protein and to drink plenty of water. Ask your doctor about any specific nutrition plan you should follow. These additional steps will also help you stay on track with your post-surgery recovery:
- Do not deviate from your doctor’s instructions.
- Keep all your follow-up appointments with doctors, therapists and specialists.
- Take steps to prevent infection and be sure to understand how to care for your incision.
- Learn the warning signs of trouble and when to call the doctor.
- Control your pain so you can get plenty of rest.
- Stay as active as recommended.
How long should you rest after surgery?
Sleep is an important part of healing. Your body will need to sleep more following surgery in order to achieve the level of healing needed. It is important to allow yourself to nap when you feel the need. Your doctor will give you advice on how much time to spend in bed, when you should begin to move your body and what timetable you should use to navigate your level of activity each day.
What should you avoid after surgery?
Your doctor will be able to provide specific instructions for what you should and should not do following a surgical procedure. However, here are some basic things to avoid during your post-surgery recovery:
- Staying in bed and avoiding physical activity
- Not taking your prescribed medication
- Driving a vehicle before you are cleared to do so
- Skipping rehabilitation exercises
- Going back to work too soon
- Taking on too much, too soon
- Not maintaining a healthy diet
For many patients, doctors will recommend an inpatient facility for post-surgery recovery. Communities like Hillsboro Rehabilitation and Health Care Center are specifically adapted to meet the varying needs of patients and to promote healing. Hillsboro Rehabilitation not only provides individualized care plans, but also offers health education sessions, daily fitness programs, daily meal planning and community re-entry programs for support.
While there is no way to speed up the healing process, there are ways to help your body along in the process. Here are some standard post-surgery recovery tips:
- Eat plenty of protein.
- Wash your hands and keep your living space clean to reduce risk of infection.
- Reduce stress to promote rest and recovery.
- Stop smoking.
- Reduce salt in your diet.
- Stay positive and focus on results.
Planning for Success
At Hillsboro Rehabilitation, we care for patients recovering from pulmonary impairment, stroke and other neurological conditions, and joint replacement and orthopedic injuries, as well as post-surgical wound care and recovery. Our team partners closely with your physicians to help you achieve your recovery goals.