How to Help Your Elderly Parent After Hip Replacement
Your parent has opted for hip surgery. They may have had an injury, rheumatoid arthritis or a tumor that prompted their decision. The surgery was a success and now the healing begins.
Elder Care Providers
If there ever was a time to consider an elder care provider, it is now. Complete healing takes anywhere from three to six months. During the initial stages of healing, your parent will need to work with a physical therapist to increase range of motion and promote strength. They will most likely be using a walker or crutches at this time. An elder care provider can be sure to provide a safe environment and help in case an emergency, such as a fall, should occur. A safe environment is free of anything–wires, throw rugs, uneven floor boards, or loose tile– where the parent will be walking. They will also need space to get through usual pathways. Initially, your parent needs to refrain from twisting, bending, and crossing their legs in order to prevent dislocation. An elder care provider also knows the signs to look for that may indicate a blood clot, a possible complication after surgery. Signs include swelling or tenderness in any part of the leg. Either of these symptoms mandates a trip to the hospital.
Obviously, hip replacement is an intrusive surgery. Pain will be expected in the weeks that follow. Applying an ice pack for 20 minutes intervals is helpful as well as having our parent take ibuprofen. Be sure to check with your parent’s doctor to ensure they are not taking a medication that conflicts with ibuprofen and that there is no other medical reason to avoid. Pain medication will most likely be prescribed.
Time and Exercise Will Heal
Making sure your loved one sticks to their rehabilitation schedule is paramount to their healing. Rehabilitation can be scheduled for six months to one year after surgery. Both rest and exercise are necessary elements.
If all goes well, your parent will eventually experience a decrease in pain. It will take time for this new joint to feel like their own, but time and therapy can produce that result.
The Whole Body
The surprising fact involved with hip surgery is the benefits associated with the rest of the body. Studies suggest that total hip replacement is associated with a decrease in diabetes, heart failure and depression. Reasons for this may be the reduced pain and their ability to pursue an active lifestyle.