6 Caregiving Tips For Elderly Relatives Post-Surgery

Posted October 3, 2020 by in Lifestyle
woman holding elderly person's hand

It’s a hard thing to watch a family member encounter obstacles in their daily lives, even if it’s only temporary. We want to provide the best care and help them make the best decisions for them after surgery, but how do you know what those decisions are?

Fortunately, there are many support services that are designed to guide families and elderly individuals through this time, so read along to learn how you can be a compassionate caregiver post-surgery. 

  1. Respite Care

If the responsibility of caring for your loved one after a hospital visit is causing you some anxiety, have peace of mind knowing that you can turn to respite care. Respite care is an aged care solution designed for this very situation, with specialised support administered either in their home or within a residential aged care home for a chosen period of time. Respite care is totally flexible to your needs and time frame, so consider exploring this as a caregiver option. 

  1. Attend All Appointments Prior and Post-Surgery

To give the greatest level of care, you need to understand the surgery process, root cause and what the post-surgery healing process will look like. This knowledge is going to inform your decisions and the nature of your care, and it will be invaluable for providing context at each stage of the recovery process.

Be sure to speak up and tell the health care professionals that you will be tasked with your family member’s care so that they can direct the information to you also.

  1. Understand Their Wishes

Before your elderly loved one undergoes surgery, have a frank discussion with them about the process and how they would like to be looked after. This is a great chance to find out what they prefer to eat and drink post-surgery, as well as other considerations that will go into making their recovery more manageable and comfortable.

Understanding the preferences of your cherished family member will ensure you can honour their wishes, while also helping to alleviate any anxieties they may have regarding the process.

  1. Prepare the Residence

Whether you have chosen to go with respite care in your loved one’s home or you have decided to take on the reins of caring for them yourself, you will want to make sure the home is ready to welcome your loved one post-surgery.

Consider things like clearing furniture from the bedroom and bathroom, removing any rugs that might be a tripping hazard, and even look to install some stability measures in the bathroom.

These amendments to the home will make your caregiving safer and more streamlined.

  1. Understand the Medication Requirements

As the primary caregiver, you will likely be responsible for administering your loved one’s medication, and this is something you don’t want to be unsure about. Don’t just rely on just reading the bottle, but also ask the doctor and pharmacist about the prescribed drugs for clearer directions.

The time of day and conditions of consumption (with food or on an empty stomach) can have a significant effect on how easy or hard it is to digest medication – this is something some of us may have experienced at one point or another. Be clear on the medication regime to help your loved one avoid discomfort or and avoid any incorrect procedures. 

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

It’s not always a straightforward or easy task to take on the care of a loved one, and you should feel empowered to ask for help if you need some extra support. Respite care exists to give the family of a person in need any support they may require, but also to administer specialised care that can be round the clock if required.

If possible, decide what your plan of action will be as soon as you think you could benefit from more support. This way, you can get that assistance as soon as you need it.


It’s an incredible thing to be there for our families, especially when the needs are more personal than simply running an errand for them.

Follow these 6 tips before you start looking after your family member, and consider if respite care will assist with the responsibility.