Preparing Your Older Loved One for Surgery: Everything You Should Know

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Whether surgery is a decision you made, or one made for you because of health complications or personal reasons, nobody likes the anxiety and stress that comes with the procedure, more so the older generations. Even a tiny medical treatment can significantly influence the physical and mental health of a senior.

As we age, conversations about the health of the elderly become more and more complex. It’s no longer about whether we would like a ski nose slope or a better-looking face, but more about topics such as determining healthcare priorities, the value of extending life, keeping independence, and sustaining quality of life. 

So as a caregiver to an older adult, it’s vital to ask the right questions from their physicians and medical care team and know what you and everyone else involved should expect.  

Here are four things you should know to better prepare yourself, and most importantly, your older loved one for surgery.  

1. Set up Informative Appointments with the Physician/Surgeon

Ensure to investigate all aspects of the operation and make at least one or two appointments with the surgeon or surgical team to receive answers to the most critical concerns.

What type of anesthetic is going to be used? What are the anesthetic’s risks?

What are the risks of physical and mental issues in the elderly who undergo this type of anesthesia or surgery?

What impact will the surgery have on your loved one’s health and lifestyle? Will it make a difference and improve the quality of life? 

2. Organize Medical History 

Seniors might have longer files of medical history than younger patients, so make sure you have everything organized and stored for yourself and future physicians. 

Keep a document on your computer that clearly charts any diagnoses, treatments, critical dates, family history, and other relevant data, rather than a huge folder or stack of papers. 

Provide as much information as possible. It’s impossible to predict what information will be helpful in the future.

3. Go Over Medications

Seniors should discuss all of their medications with their surgeons well before going under any significant surgeries.  If certain drugs can increase the risk of post-operative problems, they may need to be changed or avoided altogether. You should also be sure to get any prescriptions that may be required after your loved one arrives home.

4. Pay Attention to Their Mental Health 

It’s normal for your older loved one to have worries and anxieties for their recovery, and it is vital to make sure their mental health is taken care of during the recovery period. 

The patient’s will and mental health are critical to their recovery. Look for indicators of despair or depression in your loved one and try to practice encouragement and relief. It is crucial to the family to get a qualified psychologist or therapist who understands and empathizes with the elderly’s concerns. You can always look for mental health professionals to be hired to ensure that the elderly are recovering as best as they can emotionally. 

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