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The Road to Recovery

The road to recovery

How we bounce back from a surgery or fall can be one of the most important indicators of having a good retirement, so try these simple tips to get back to full health.

We all take a few knocks in life, from falls to surgeries, car accidents or falling off a bike. When we are younger we tend to bounce straight back, heal quickly and get back on with the business of living. However, as we get older it can take longer to recover from a physical set back. The Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society estimates that around 30 per cent of adults over 65 years old experience at least one fall per year.

Physiologically, we simply do not recover as quickly as we did when we were kids, or even in our early 20s. However, if managed correctly, an injury may not be a permanent set back in retirement.

Post-surgery checklist

If you have to go in for surgery, you need to make sure you are ready for your recovery. Before you have the surgery, make sure you prepare your home for your return. You need to clear pathways, roll up rugs that might be a slip hazard, and make a place for things that you use a lot – remotes, books, phones – so they can be easily reached. Get a friend or relative to cast an eye over your home too as they might see things that you don’t, since you live in the house all the time.

Finally, stock the pantry with simple, easy-to-prepare meals, but no junk food – a good diet is also a key factor in getting better.

You need to stay positive, too, because serious surgery can trigger feelings of low mood or helplessness.

Don’t get frustrated

One of the most important things you need for recovery is patience. If you rush your recovery and overextend yourself, you are far more likely to injure yourself further. Make sure you know your limitations and stay well within them; it may seem like a long time, but it will only increase if you add stress to your injury.

This also applies to asking for help. Make sure you have a network of people on whom you can rely when you are in recovery mode. Call these people when you are feeling annoyed, and ask for help before trying to do something that you know is well beyond your current capabilities.

Make some changes

The temptation will be to want to return to your normal life, but that is a little way off just now. You might need to change the clothes you wear; putting on clothes that are easy to get on and off, or shoes that slip on rather than lace up.

You may not want to use a medical alert bracelet, but they can offer peace of mind when you are not at 100 per cent health. There is no stigma in holding on to one of these handy devices, just in case you fall again.

You might also need to get some physical therapy. The temptation is to just sit and wait for your injury or surgery to heal, but keeping moving is a key factor in recovering quickly.

When you have had a physical set back, it’s time to take stock. Make sure you take it easy, keep your cool and lean on those who care about you. Take it slow and your recovery will be over in no time.