Preparing Seniors for Surgery

By Michelle Jackson, MiCAFE Network Screening and Application Specialist at Elder Law of Michigan

Deciding to have surgery is one of the most important decisions that we make in our lifetime. There are many decisions that we make before the day of surgery like finding a surgeon we feel comfortable with, finding the right facility to have the surgery as well as making sure our body can mentally and physically withstand the type of surgery that needs to be performed.

Preparing for this big day could help you heal faster. It is important to know your financial responsibility and how to avoid risks that can creep up in any surgery performed. You can make a checklist of what you will need to take to the hospital. Always make a list of questions for your surgeon that you would like to ask before your surgery. Making a separate list for your anesthesiologist may be a good idea since they serve in a separate role during the surgery than your surgeon does. You can ask questions about your fears, health habits, health history, experience with anesthesia, and your recovery outcome being a success. Being prepared will help you feel more comfortable and at ease before you enter the operating room.

According to Today’s Caregiver, a couple of complications that can occur in older adults after surgery are postoperative delirium and Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD). Someone suffering from postoperative delirium can be confused and disoriented for a week after surgery. POCD can cause long-term problems with memory loss, learning ability, and concentration. Older adults are often advised to complete a cognitive exam before surgery and avoid certain medications.

Check out Today’s Caregiver to learn more about what to expect and for advice on steps you can take before making critical decisions regarding your upcoming surgery.

Michelle Jackson is an Economic Security Team Member for MiCAFE as well as a MMAP counselor at Elder Law of Michigan. Michelle has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since March 2013. As an Economic Security Team Member and MMAP counselor, Michelle assists Michigan seniors with benefit applications and serves as an advocate for the health and safety of seniors.