After Surgery Care for Seniors Expert Tips
How do seniors, living alone, plan for care after surgery?
The U.S. Census estimates close to 29 percent of older adults 65 and older live alone. The numbers continue to rise due to the baby boomers’ high divorce rate and childless marriages. And now the boomers enter the 65 years of age, so, as they grow older, this generation will find themselves living without the support of family or anyone one else.
What will this mean to our health care systems? Not having access to family members to help out with daily living activities, transportation, and even personal care if one should become ill, the burden of such post care will fall on Medicaid or Medicare. Members of my Facebook elder orphan group speak to this issue each day. The toughest concerns they face are getting a ride to medical center or hospital, locating low-cost personal care help, and finding support as they recover alone.
Just recently, a member was involved in a tragic car accident and needed surgery. Unfortunately, since she did not have anyone help her out post-surgery, sadly, the member was unable to return home and was required to heal and recover in a rehab center. Now, that may sound like a viable option post-after surgery, however, the member now faces hefty health care expenses since the insurance company did not pick up the rehab bill.
These are few examples of what aging alone seniors come up against. But I predict as this segment swells, more and more older adults will face these and other challenges which creates much tension and stress. I’m very curious to learn how a senior, aging alone, can best prepare to take care of themselves when dealing with a chronic illness or facing surgery. I asked several members of the Seniorcare.com Aging Council,
“When living alone, planning and dealing with a medical event is extremely difficult – what strategy do you recommend one put in place to alleviate the stress?”
Here is what they had to say about after surgery care.
Shannon Martin, Aging Wisely, Get help. The medical system can be overwhelming to navigate when you are ill and stressed. Consider hiring an aging life care manager for a consultation and/or help with planning, advocacy and care management (especially if you do not have a family member who can act in this role).
Alex Chamberlain, Easy Living FL, Research options before a crisis. Test out services you may need. For example, as a home health company we see the positive results clients have when there’s continuity of care. It’s comforting when your long-time caregiver (who maybe just helps a bit at home when you’re fairly independent) can be with you during an illness, hospitalization, or transition. Your outcomes may just be better too!
Anthony Cirillo, The Aging Experience, Preplanning is key. Have an advanced directive and health care power of attorney. Have a DNR and MOST form readily accessible to professionals. Have all of your doctors and medications on a list. Consider a life alert type of device that will inform people if you have fallen. Of course they do so much more these days and are a great way to have peace of mind.
Michelle Jeong, LifeAssist, Set up an emergency plan with 2-3 nearby friends that you trust. Put their names on auto-dial and share key documents such as your Health care Directive, insurance policy and Power of Attorney info. Giving a copy of your keys to 1-2 trusted neighbors is highly recommended.
David Inns, GreatCall, More and more seniors are planning to age in place rather than at a facility or home and technology can help with this. I recommend seniors living alone use a small emergency response device that they can wear at all times, like a one-touch emergency button. This allows them to maintain independence while providing security and peace of mind that if an emergency occurs they can get help instantly.
Connie Chow, DailyCaring.com, When living alone, having a crisis plan is essential for peace of mind. Ask a trusted friend to be your local emergency contact and a family member as the #2 contact. Make sure important info is clearly posted on or near your fridge: emergency contacts, doctors’ names and numbers, your date of birth, any medication allergies, your power of attorney representative’s name, and your DNR or POLST.