Surgery for seniors is considered serious business by medical experts. Older surgical patients can react differently to anesthesia and the stress of undergoing surgery far differently than younger healthy adults do. Some seniors take more time to recover, are more vulnerable to infection and might experience post-surgical cognitive decline. It is essential that seniors and/or their family members discuss surgical risks and alternative options with their doctors beforehand.
As individuals age, their body systems can slow down significantly. Some seniors develop circulation problems, heart disease, endocrine disorders, bone density, and muscle mass losses or issues with mobility. All these circumstances and a number of others may make an older surgical patient recover slower than their younger counterparts. Some studies show that surgical patients over the age of sixty can take up to three to six months to regain their presurgical functioning status.
More Vulnerable to Infection
Seniors who have developed one of many autoimmune disorders are more vulnerable to getting an infection following surgery. Surgical equipment must be properly sterilized in an autoclave before each case before introducing them to the sterile surgical field. Introducing contaminants into the surgical site can lead to severe infections that may require further surgery to address. Hospitals are notorious for harboring many different types of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and strict compliance with OSHA and other governmental regulation entities is required for all types of health care facilities. The surgical operating suites must be thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated in between cases to meet even stricter cleaning guidelines. Any opening into the body, including urinary catheters, feeding tubes, IV lines and the surgical incisions themselves, put all surgical patients at a higher risk for postoperative infections with seniors facing the greatest challenges. Proper assessment for higher infection risks, appropriate use of intraoperative antibiotics and close postoperative supervision by trained medical personnel for a longer time can all decrease some of these surgical risks for seniors.
Postoperative delirium has long been known to exist in older patient populations undergoing surgical procedures. This condition typically only lasts from a few hours to a few days following surgery. However, many health care experts caution that seniors pose a higher risk of longer-lasting cognitive decline than the average healthy and younger surgical patient population groups. This cognitive decline in elderly patients can last from a week to three months during postoperative recovery, and this cognitive loss can impact memory and the function of many body systems, including the ability to eat, move, speak clearly and ambulate, among others. Usually, POCD (postoperative cognitive dysfunction) is transient in nature and will resolve with a higher level of postoperative care. However, some medical specialists believe that permanent cognitive decline can occur, especially in seniors.
Seniors and their caregivers should discuss these possible postoperative complications with their family doctor, surgeon, and other specialists prior to having surgery. These risks can often be decreased with some preventative precautions and preparations.
If you or an elderly relative is going to have surgery soon, take a look at these tips on how to prepare.
Placing a loved one in a senior home can be a difficult moment to experience, especially if the loved one is not thrilled about the situation. Once they are settled in, however, you do have to be vigilant that their health is not being negatively impacted by neglect or abuse. Some elderly do develop conditions that make it difficult to care for them, but this is a reason why you seek a senior home that employs staff who can care for specific conditions, lifestyles and requirements. Here are three ways to protect your elderly loved ones in senior homes.
The best way to ensure your loved one is doing well in a senior home is to visit them often. If you let too much time pass between visits, you may not notice minor scratches or bruises. If they are occurring frequently, you have to start asking questions. When you visit often, you can spot changes in personality, health and mood much more quickly, too. While the expectation is that the staff will always notice minor changes, the patient and you will always be the best advocates for your loved one. Then, you can speak with the medical professionals about what you are noticing. Your goal is to ensure care is keeping up with any conditions they have or are developing. It is well-documented that the elderly benefit from family visits.
Familiarize Yourself with Laws That Protect the Elderly
In recent years, new laws to prevent and punish elder abuse have been passed at a federal level, enabling the protection of a vulnerable section of the population. If you have concerns, you have the option to speak with an ombudsman. This professional is a neutral third party assigned to go investigate complaints and claims. Rules and laws mandate senior care facilities keep accurate medical records, provide adequate supervision during all activities and access to assistive medical devices.
Review Financial Records
Protecting your loved one also involves reviewing their financial records. Accidents can happen, and the senior home may overcharge for a service or payment. The elderly are also easy victims of identity fraud and theft. Reviewing their financials at regular intervals means you can spot odd charges or purchases early.
Helping your loved ones to feel comfortable and safe is so important in these modern times. You never know what kinds of things might come up as a potential danger, so it’s important to always be prepared. That's why it is essential to do your research when placing a loved one in an assisted living facility. Choose one that has good reviews and proper accreditation. To protect elderly loved ones, visit often, familiarize yourself with laws that protect them and keep an eye on their financials.
From the cost of gym memberships to prepping healthier meals, living well can be expensive. Before you abandon your goals for a healthier lifestyle, consider these tips that show you don't have to overspend to live a better life.
Budgeting Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle
(Family Features) From the cost of gym memberships to prepping healthier meals, living well can be expensive. Before you abandon your goals for a healthier lifestyle, consider these tips that show you don't have to overspend to live a better life.
Plan Your Meals
Weigh Your Workout Options
Invest in Rest
Additional research shows that 64 percent of people experience improved sleep quality after investing in a new mattress. As the nation’s largest bedding retailer, Mattress Firm’s purchasing power translates to affordable prices and a wide selection of mattresses and bedding accessories, which can help you stretch your budget further. Find more sleep tips and budget-friendly ideas at TheDailyDoze.com.
A healthier lifestyle requires commitment and hard work, but as these tips prove, creating a better life doesn’t have to mean overhauling your budget.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Interested in Publishing on Living Well IDEAS?
Send your query to the Publisher today!