If you are facing a major surgery with extended downtime, it can be daunting to try to make sure you get the help and assistance you need. Rallying your resources for your post surgery recuperation can be a vital part of making sure you heal and can get back to living your life to its fullest.
Make A Plan
The best time to begin tapping into your village is before you check into the hospital. We all know how tough it can be to ask for help, but I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at the response you receive when you ask. Brainstorm on who and where you can turn:
Neighbors: Can they pick up your mail and newspapers while you are in the hospital? Can they come by to check on you (if you live alone) in the morning and evening?
Church: If you belong to a church community, who in your church could provide assistance for you? Churches are frequently a very strong network of helping hands.
Friends and Family: Who can help you with errands, keeping up with home/yard maintenance and cooking?
Community Resources: What types of assistance is available for you in your community?
Help Your Helpers
If you are incapacitated, leaving detailed instructions on your daily routines and life are essential to making sure that the people assisting you have the tools they need to do so. Some ideas for preparing your caregivers for post surgery care include:
A “Love Drawer” – A phrase coined by Dave Ramsey, it is a centralized place in your home with essential information about your life in it. Customize it however you wish for the situation, but in case someone has a question such as, “where does Jane keep the key to the shed?” Your helper knows right where to go.
A detailed calendar – Posting a calendar of when your bills are due, when the garbage comes, and other weekly household routines will give your caregivers one place to turn if they want to know when they should help you with,
Pet care page – Sometimes our four-legged family members can be forgotten about during times of stress. Create a one-page document detailing the type of care your pet needs, such as when to feed them, any medications they may be taking, when to walk them or clean their litter box, etc.
Assistance League – The Salem chapter of the Assistance League has several programs in place to help you, even a book delivery program coordinated with the local libraries to keep you from getting too bored. Give them a call at 503-364-8318.
Care Calendar – CareCalendar is a web-based system to organize meals and other help for families during a time of illness or life changing event, or for long term situations, including homebound and caregiver respite care needs.
Salem-area Meals on Wheels – If you are a senior (60 years of age or older) contact the Salem-area Meals On Wheels. Meals On Wheels is a strong support system for food delivery to seniors. When my own grandmother was recovering from a broken hip caused by a fall, Meals On Wheels provided her with food delivery once a day. It was a life saver for her AND my grandfather. They are a wonderful organization in general but also with post surgery care. Reach out to them at 503-304-3400.
Care.com – This is a website that matches personal care assistants with people who need personal care. Background checks are available, and candidates for helping positions post their information and creditials online for you to peruse. This site also has a section for pet sitting helpers as well.
OHAS-Oregon: Getting to and from your doctor’s appointments if you can’t drive can be one of the biggest obstacles you face once you are home and recovering. OHAS-Oregon is a transportation service non-profit serving people over the age of 60 in the Salem-Keizer area.
Salem-Keizer Cherriots – Cherriots offers several options for getting to and from where you need to be. Their Red Line is a Dial-A-Ride accessible service. To find out more, call 503-588-2877.
Pacific Medical Supply Salem: We deliver within a 10 mile radius of the store, but if you are outside of our delivery range, we won’t leave you hanging. Call ahead for what you need and we will set it aside for you. Your post surgery helper can come and pick up your supplies.