Yes, that’s correct. My 91-year old, feisty, Irish client just got a hip replacement. The orthopedic surgeon said in another country with a different healthcare system, she would probably not be able to have this surgery. The hip will surely outlive her, but this was a matter of quality-of-life.
My client was against the surgery at first and tried to cope with bone on bone arthritis in her hip. She hobbled around for almost a year until the pain became unbearable and decided to go ahead with the procedure. Although she was living alone and fully independent, she was suddenly not eating or drinking. I insisted she now needed a daily caregiver to help improve her nutrition. With 1:1 TLC for a few weeks, she was able to get stronger and obtain medical clearance to have the hip replacement.
That was just over a week ago and I am happy to report she is now in rehab, very motivated and walking with a walker better than she did before. This client had a few things against her…a heart condition, high blood pressure, poor kidney function. But she does not have cognitive impairment and has a very strong personality. Perhaps due to her Irish heritage and positive attitude, she has come through this surgery surprisingly well and I have no doubt will be home and independent within a few short weeks. Then she will be moving out of state to live closer to her daughter, in an assisted living community.
Not every 91-year old would be a good candidate for a hip replacement, but for this one lady, an improved quality-of-life has been accomplished. At the end of the day, that is the primary goal of an Aging Life Care Professional.
by Joan Garbow, MSW, LCSW, CCM