For those of us with living with or taking care of elderly parents, the day will arrive when we have to deal with hospitalization. People in the late 80’s and mid 90’s tend to have medical issues which can often involve a stay in the hospital. Often times it is a fall, and a broken bone which is the trigger event.
It is best to think ahead and be ready. Making sure they have adequate insurance coverage is a good place to start but what about the many things insurance doesn’t cover? It’s also important, even if Insurance does cover everything, that you understand that a 90 year old who has been hospitalized is NOT going to be able to simply bounce back like a 50 year old would. They will need skilled nursing care for a few weeks to check for signs of infection, make sure their vitals are okay, and signs of depression. They will most probably need more physical therapy and probably a CNA to come in and take care of them in the evenings.
I recently helped a family with a 95 year old patient who fell and broke her hip. She had the hip replacement. After the operation, she went to rehab for a week or so, and was then released to go home. Her Son and Daughter –In-Law assumed she would be just fine and they could go ahead with their vacation plans.
I already look after her for about ten hours a week. It never entered their mind that she would need more help than the few hours a day I spend with her. They never even gave a thought to the fact she would need a night shift person. I thought, how will she get up all alone if she falls in the night, who would be there to help her?
I was aghast!! When they said oh our friend is coming to check on the dogs so she’ll be here for Mom’s needs. Excuse me but this friend had no medical experience and when she found out they expected her to help their 95 year old Mom who is still recovering from major surgery, she backed out. Smart Lady!!
Of course they called me panicking at the last minute to find coverage for her. It turned out she required help 3 or 4 times a night from the caregiver I found to cover. Healing fully from a surgery requires consistent care and attention to their nutritional needs as well.
Anyone, never mind a senior, over the age of 85, will most probably not feel like planning a meal, cooking and shopping for themselves. It is difficult for their children to fully embrace that this once, strong independent woman was going to need help for quite a while.
Depression is also a big concern at this age. People who are dealing with pain and weakness can easily fall into depression, which magnifies everything. So please, if you have a loved one who is headed for surgery, take these words to heart, and do NOT leave them alone to fend for themselves. They need proper follow up medical care, and help with everyday tasks for several weeks.