Knee and hip replacements are common. As we live longer with more wear and tear on our joints, the number of joint replacements will continue to rise. According to a 2014 Mayo Clinic study, 4.7 million Americans had a knee replacement and 2.5 million had a hip replacement between 1969, when total joint replacements began, and 2010. More women than men have joint replacements and the rate of joint replacements increases with age. In fact, among adults aged 80 to 89 about 6% have a history of total hip replacement and 10% have had a knee replacement.
The key to recovery is good post-operative care
Joint replacement surgery itself is relatively short and most people move better and have less pain than they did before following the surgery. Physical therapy can start as early as the same day of surgery and you may be up and walking with assistance one or two days later. Chances are good that you’ll leave the hospital after only a few days, but full recovery can take 3 to 6 months depending on the type of surgery, your pre-surgery health, and the nature of your rehabilitation.
Respite care may make your recovery easier
Recovery from a joint replacement involves the right combination of rest, wound care, pain management, and physical therapy. A short term stay in a senior housing community before returning home can make the recovery period easier for both you and your primary caregiver.
With respite care, all the care you need will be located in one place. A physical therapist will teach you exercises to restore range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the joint. You’ll also learn skills to help you maintain balance and agility. You’ll get help with cleaning and dressing the wound and trained staff will manage your pain medications as well as any other medications you may need. Short-term care can help with activities of daily living that you may not be able to do on your own during this time such as using stairs, dressing, making beds, or bathing. Many of the senior housing communities on Seniorly’s website offer these types of services along with rehabilitation and fitness programs through respite care.
Even if you have family and friends who can help you, they may not be available all of the time during your recovery. A short-term stay in assisted living can relieve caregivers of the stress of arranging care for you at home and give you a chance to focus on getting better.