If you have a relative who has recently undergone a total joint replacement they’re going to need support. Total joint replacement is major surgery and comes with a lot of pre and post-op adjustments. Thanksgiving is a time for people to gather together and appreciate each other’s company, here are a few things that can make your relative feel comfortable and loved.
Dedicate a place for them to retreat if they need a moment away
A guest bedroom or even your bedroom can be a helpful sanctuary for a post-op relative. They may tire easily and or need a break from the social interaction of the day. A quiet place to lie down with the lights off for even a few minutes will go a long way toward making them feel like there’s no pressure to be engaged the whole time.
Reserve a comfy spot for them to sit
Whether it’s an armchair or a spot on the couch next to the armrest, make sure that they have a comfortable place to spend the majority of the day. This also extends to the dinner table. Putting an extra cushion on the seat and back of the chair could make a world of difference. You can even have fun with it by making a sign like “Reserved for the world’s best (mom/uncle/cousin etc.)” that way everyone will know to not sit there.
Do some research and keep their limitations in mind
This will depend on what joint they’ve had surgery on, but even spending a few minutes of research and thinking about what they could encounter could save a lot of trouble later. For example, if they’ve had a total knee replacement they may need to keep their knee iced. Have some ice packs chilling in the freezer and ready to go. If they’ve had a total elbow or shoulder replacement it might be painful for them to cut their food, so consider doing it in advance when you serve their portion. You can’t think of everything, but even a little effort will be a big help.
Make them feel welcome, and not like a burden
It’s common for depression to set in after someone undergoes surgery. They may feel stressed, in pain, or like they’re a burden. While you can’t cure their depression you can do your best to make sure that they know they are loved and that you’re happy to help them be comfortable. Check in with them throughout the evening, show them that they are not their surgery and you’re just happy to have their company. That’s what Thanksgiving in all about, after all!