You have a million thoughts going through your mind before your aging parent enters a knee or hip surgery, and in the midst of getting ready for the surgery, you may forget to prepare your home or your parent’s home for when they return from a successful surgery. Here’s a checklist of things to help prepare your or your parent’s home for a smooth, post-surgery recovery:
- Install grab bars in the bathroom, ramps over the outside steps, and potentially a stair lift if the house has multiple levels.
- Clear away any clutter that would be easy for your parent to trip over, as well as any throw rugs, electrical cords, or other hazards that could lead to a trip.
- Elevate seats and beds. After a hip replacement, your parent may not be able to bend the new joint very much until it heals.
- Adjust living arrangements. If the master bedroom is on the second floor, it may be less painful for your parent to sleep on the main floor as they recover. If that’s not possible, the home should be rearranged so that the recovering patient only has to make one trip down in the morning and one trip up at night.
- Add nightlights to increase visibility and reduce the risk of falling in case your parent has to get up in the middle of the night.
- Create a convenient living space. Make sure any important and often-used items are easily accessible- dishware and silverware, the television remote, etc.
- Prepare the bathroom. After a hip replacement, your parent will require an elevated toilet seat that can be placed over the normal toilet. You’ll also need to examine the shower and bath area; a shower seat and a handheld shower head will be the least painful option between standing for a shower and sitting in a tub.
- Think about mobility. Will your parent require a walker, a wheelchair or a power scooter to get around the home?
- Prepare freezer meals that your parent can easily heat for lunch or dinner without worrying about navigating many pots and pans around the kitchen.
By preparing the home for after your parent’s knee or hip surgery, you’ll reduce any stress your parent may encounter during recovery at home. Planning ahead and getting everything ready will be a great help to your parents, and it will help you and them both feel calm and ready to face surgery head-on.