Tips for Seniors Recovering from Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures available and has improved the daily lives of millions of people. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 600,000 people have knee replacement surgery each year. That number is expected to reach 1.28 million by 2030. The primary reason to have the surgery is for severe osteoarthritis of the knee which causes pain, swelling and keeps you from doing the activities you enjoy. After the surgery, the replacement joint lasts for 15 years.

For older adults, recovering from knee replacement surgery can be challenging, especially without a support system in place. For many people, the first few days at home are the most difficult. But being proactive, preparing the home ahead of time and having a plan can ensure a fast and safe recovery from knee replacement surgery. We’ve put together tips on what you need to do to prepare and the best equipment for recovery.

Prepare the bedroom 

Preparing the home ahead of time can help ensure a smooth transition and rehabilitation. You may need to dedicate a bedroom on the first floor for recovery. This room should contain anything you may need, including:

  • Easy access to a walker or crutches
  • A bed that isn’t too high or low off the ground with a medical bed rail to help with getting in and out of bed
  • A side table next to bed for easy access to medications, fluids and TV remote
  • A bedside commode in case the restroom is far away or inaccessible without assistance
  • Clean, dry linens and blankets
  • Bandages for wound care
  • A telephone to call for assistance
  • A knee support cushion
  • Grip socks or comfortable shoes that are safe to wear around the house

Prepare the kitchen and bathroom

Standing, sitting and moving from room to room will be difficult for the person you’re caring for. You will have to help them get around and complete daily tasks, including preparing meals or helping with personal hygiene. It’s important to stock up on ready-to-eat food and make sure useful items are easily accessible. To prepare the kitchen and bathroom, you’ll need:

  • Canned or frozen foods and single serve meals
  • Toiletries like toilet paper, shampoo and other personal items
  • Food and other supplies in a cupboard that is between your waist and shoulder level
  • Glasses, plates and other items placed on the kitchen counter for easy access
  • Nonslip mats in the shower or bathtub and throughout the bathroom
  • A shower bench or stool to allow for safe bathing without discomfort or injury
  • Safety grab bars near toilet and shower
  • Long-handled bath loofah to prevent uncomfortable twisting or risky movements in the shower

Recovering from knee replacement surgery begins as soon as you wake up from the procedure. A physical therapist will assist with mobility that same day. You will likely be discharged from the hospital within one to three days and sent home with a physical therapy plan – either for home rehabilitation or going to a dedicated rehab center.

Total knee replacement recovery time for older adults is about twelve weeks. Within four to six weeks, you should notice a significant decrease in swelling and significant progress in movement ability. For about four to six more weeks, you will continue working with a physical therapist to increase your range of motion in your new knee and build muscles around the new joint.

Recovering at home is possible, but it’s certainly not ideal. Your home likely isn’t designed to be a comfortable, safe environment for a senior who has just left the hospital – and it doesn’t come complete with a full staff of highly trained nurses, caregivers or chefs. The best way to recover from a surgery, like a knee replacement, is to choose a rehabilitation center like Bethany Rehabilitation & Health Center.

At Bethany Rehabilitation & Health Center, we have the knowledge and experience to address each senior’s unique needs. With advanced physical therapy, we have a treatment plan for a fast and safe recovery from knee replacement surgery. And thanks to our 24-hour nursing support, you and your family will have real peace of mind that quality care is always available.

Want to know more? We’re always ready to answer your questions. Contact us today.