Your elderly parent will generally be discharged from the hospital following a knee replacement after they are able to get to the toilet on their own. They will, most likely, be unable to accomplish the daily activities of living for several weeks to a month. Medication and physical therapy will be a large part of their recovery. During this healing process, it will be important to have someone with them to support them as they navigate from room to room and help with the everyday activities. Your family will also need to amend your parent’s home to make it as safe as possible.
Once at Home
If your parent’s bedroom was upstairs, you will need to make a bed accessible to them downstairs during their recovery. If you have been told by their primary health care team that this may be a long term situation, it may be time to check into a stairwell lift.
Consider these other areas of the home that will need to be modified:
Remove all tripping and slipping hazards. These include throw rugs, clutter, furniture that may be blocking or intruding into commonly used pathways, and wires or cords that encroach in areas your parent may be walking. They may very well be using a walker during the initial stages of healing. Make sure doorways and pathways are wide enough to accommodate them.
Ensure your parent has good lighting throughout their home. This may warrant installing motion sensor lights or a path of nightlights that lead from the bedroom to the bathroom and kitchen.
Install grab bars in strategic places such as in the shower and by the toilet. Place no-skid mats in the shower and in front of sinks. Get a shower stool for your parent to sit on.
Make sure everyday items are reachable in the kitchen, bathroom and other living areas. There are specific “reachable” tools designed for this activity if there is not enough room to move everything to a more accessible area.
Elderly Care Provider
While your parent is in the healing stages, consider obtaining the assistance of an elderly care provider. These professionals have assisted many elders who have faced comparable surgeries such as knee or hip replacements. They understand their specific needs and can remind them when it’s time to take their medication—a very important reminder during the first few weeks when pain can be very evident. They can help your parent with bathing and dressing, prepare meals, keep the home clutter-free by performing light housekeeping and provide transportation to appointments.
One of the most important services they provide is the companionship that helps your loved one take their mind off of what troubles or is hurting them and places it on interesting activities and caring conversation.