Hip replacement surgery and living alone

mandym Member Posts: 3
edited 27. Dec 2018, 05:17 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi everyone , I’m 49 years old & have osteoarthritis in both hips which was caused by having a dislocated hip when I was a baby. I was offered hip replacement surgery 3 years ago but cancelled it . I’m now on the waiting list again but thinking of cancelling it again. The main problem is that I live alone & I’ve got no one to help me after the surgery. I know there’s practical things I can set up e.g on line grocery shopping & I can buy aids for dressing & washing but I’m worried this won’t be enough & having the operation would put me in a very vulnerable position.
Has anyone managed to have this operation & recover on their own ?


  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I know there were some on here but they rarely post, presumably because they don't need to. There is a permanent thread at the top of this board which is called something like 'Topic with practical advice for hospital and . . .' - I can't remember what! There may be some hints and ideas in there to assist you. I hope someone with relevant experience will see your post.

    Surgery can make a world of difference in reducing pain levels and increasing mobility, recovery may not be easy for the patient but the good things in life rarely are. Hip ops are straightforward, it is a simple joint, and I hope yours goes so well you don't need us. DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I really don't know the answer to this. I've had two hip replacements and my recovery in both went very well but I had a husband on hand to help. As DD says, we have had the odd one on here who has done it successfully but, as I have RA in all my fingers, shoulders etc, it would just be a step too far for me.

    Why not ask at your health centre if there is some help available? Just someone to pop in for the first week or so even to check on you. Otherwise I think you'd be in danger of doing too much too soon and that would undo the surgeon's good work. Perhaps you could engage someone privately to just do a spot of housework for a short spell.
  • dibdab
    dibdab Member Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Most NHS hospitals will do a pre open assessment to work out what you need in place. Mum (89 years old) had her hip replaced in September. We arranged 6 weeks respite in a local care home which got her back on her feet, it was expensive but really worthwhile to keep her safe. It may be worth contacting your local Social Services to ask what support is available.
  • newhipandy
    newhipandy Member Posts: 60
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    One of the hardest things after hip replacement is having TEDs - the pressure socks which prevent blood clots. When you are not fully mobile it is virtually impossible to get these on and off yourself. I also found that for the first couple of days I felt a bit wobbly getting in and out of the shower, up and down the stairs etc, so I was glad to have my husband there. The benefits of surgery are enormous, not least because your pain will be gone overnight, but certainly the first days and weeks are tiring, hard work. I do not think I would have been able to manage on my own. If you are on crutches, you cannot even carry a hot drink from A to B either. My first hip recuperation was different as I was not fully weight bearing for six weeks. This time, three years later, I have been fully weight bearing since day one, sent home with sticks instead of crutches. Still needed some practical help though. I think if I was on my own I would invite a friend or relative to stay for a week. Hope this helps.
  • mandym
    mandym Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for all your replies, in all honesty I don’t think surgery is for me & I will probably ask to be taken off the waiting list .
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That sounds a bit drastic. I really understand the problem but, when my hips needed replacing, I couldn't actually walk further than the bathroom. How will you manage?
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,595
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi, I had a total knee replacement January 2017 and I live alone. I pre-planned and organised lots of things including filling up the freezer with pre-cooked meals and portions of home-made soup. I had someone I know come in a couple of times to clean through for me and change the bed (yes I had to pay her but it needed doing and I couldn't do it). Friends and neighbours all helped me as well with various things.

    The pre-op assessment I went through identified what equipment I needed (the hospital supplied that) and I organised for a friend to stay with me for a few days.

    My cousin this year had a total knee replacement; she replicated all my arrangements and had our other cousin stay with her for a week. She managed very well.

    My elderly neighbour lives alone and had a total hip replacement 2 years ago. She had her cousin stay with her for a week once she was home, and had got herself organised beforehand. All of us neighbours helped where we could and she had a constant stream of offers of help, as indeed did I in January 2017.

    Internet shopping is a must re groceries; pop a note in the delivery instructions bit to say "slow to door", request a slot in the day when you know you'll be up and about and get a delivery in literally the day before your surgery so you don't have to worry about the next delivery for a couple of weeks. Pre-stock up on non-perishable goods (stack them up in the corner if needs be).

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that with pre-planning it is possible to do this and very successfully. Make sure you tell the hospital at your pre-op that you live alone and organise for someone to stay with you even for 3-4 days; it'll help believe me.

    Good luck with the surgery.

  • premierscfc04
    premierscfc04 Member Posts: 57
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've recently had a hip revision and fortunately you no longer have to use TED socks once you are discharged from hospital (it was only changed earlier this year), I was put on daily aspirin for 28 days instead.
    I was lucky in that my wife had my first week at home off work and my mum helped the second week.
    If you explain your circumstances I'm sure you can get help at home if you check with social services and/or the hospital some help could be arranged.

    I really hope you are able to get something sorted.
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,431
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Looking on the pratical side, I doubt if uou woukd be discharged unless help was in place, there is a group of nurses in place that work alongside gp practices for recovery of those that have been hospitalised. You woukdn't be alkne.

    Maybe your worse fears are those of being alone rather than helpless?
  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,300
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Mandym,
    Yes it's doable! I've been there and got the T- shirt. Have now had both hips done. I too was born with CDH in both hips and like you developed OA.
    I'm also probably one of the infrequent visitors DD is referring to.

    The first time round I was also non-weight bearing awhile and then partial weight bearing after that.

    Success is all down to careful planning. Set up online shopping, freeze some dinners/ stock up on ready meals, rearrange stuff so that everything you will need won't require bending or stretching. Make sure the kettle is close to the sink, so you wont have to keep carrying it. Ensure the OT sets up your home with everything you will need, keep emphasising you will be on your own.
    Have drink making facilities upstairs too if that's where you will sleep. Have a shoulder bag/rucksack for carrying stuff up and down the stairs.

    Don't put it off. I was crippled as I kept putting it off, and after having it done wished I had it done sooner.

    Second time round, I was also caring for my teenage (foster) son with autism and learning disabilities. Granted he could carry stuff up and down stairs for me, but that was all.

    You should have rehab care afterwards free for 6 weeks.

    I had someone visit from the team to change my dreaded surgical stockings, but just read somewhere, you no longer have to wear them for months on end.

    I had to get occasional visitors to help put food away in the fridge at first, ( once the Tesco man kindly did it!) Someone to change the bed sheets ( and boy Deere they overdue.)

    Must dash,


    PS Prop up your mattress on pillows at the foot of your bed before surgery to help swelling.
    If you have somewhere to keep it, hire a mobility scooter for a couple of months post op - a sanity saver.
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I would talk to your consultant , you can get help , they will send carers in to help , other options include respite or recovering at a local hospital , you can put off surgery for ever , you can do alot more damage , I need my hip done & cant for medical reasons

    I would talk to your consultant about your recovery & putting off surgery