Perhaps you’ve had enough of the pain in your knee or hip, as it’s now interfering in your daily life. When you can no longer navigate the stairs in your home, enjoy an afternoon of shopping with your daughter, or even simply vacuum the living room, it may be time to consider scheduling an elective surgery like a knee or hip replacement.
Fortunately, elective surgeries like these are very common in people age 65 and older. In fact, it’s estimated that around 15 million surgeries are performed on aging Americans every year. While an elective surgery can improve quality of life and provide amazing long-term benefits, there are a few extra steps and preparation seniors should take before scheduling their surgery. It’s important to understand the preoperative and postoperative processes so you can be as informed as possible about your procedure.
Seniors’ Guide to Prepare for an Elective Surgery
Before your schedule your elective surgery, there are a few things you should do to make sure you know what’s ahead. Here’s a guide to get you ready for any type of optional surgery:
Ask your surgeon questions. Make sure you understand why your surgeon is recommending the elective surgery and how it will improve your overall quality of life. Ask about the risks and complications associated with the type of surgery you’ll be having, as well as how the surgeon will safeguard against those risks. Find out what type of activities will be restricted post-surgery, too.
Talk to your primary care physician. You should also inform your primary care physician that you’ll be having an elective surgery, as well as any specialists you see regularly. This way, you can discuss the current medications you’re taking and find out if there might be any complications that can arise. Your doctor may adjust your prescriptions to minimize any of these possible complications.
Contact your healthcare insurance provider. Find out what sort of co-pays you’ll be responsible for, as well as what insurance will and will not cover. Plus, some insurers require pre-authorization for some elective surgeries. You should also ask how many days in short term rehabilitation your insurance will cover, as well as if coverage for home health care is available.
Choose a rehabilitation facility. Many seniors will require a stay in a short-term rehabilitation facility following an elective surgery, especially after a knee replacement or hip replacement surgery. Research rehab facilities in your area and find out if they provide both physical and occupational therapy, or if they specialize in the type of surgery you’re going to have. You should also make sure the facility offers amenities like social activities and meals to make your stay there is as pleasant as possible.
Obtain recommended equipment before your surgery. Rehabilitation therapists will recommend special equipment you will need when you return home. It may include a toilet seat riser, grab bars, a walker, non-skid mats are a number of other items you may need the day you return home.
Eat right, exercise and rest up. Finally, it’s important to be in the best physical shape possible before your surgery. The healthier your body is, the easier it will be for you to recover faster. Eat a nutritious diet consisting of lots of vegetables, fruit and lean protein, exercise regularly, and get the right amount of sleep each night.