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The Best Ways to Support a Loved One After They’ve Had Surgery

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The Best Ways to Support a Loved One After They've Had Surgery

Whether they've had a tonsillectomy or a total knee replacement, undergoing surgery can take a major toll on anyone's life. If you have a friend or loved one who is recovering from surgery, they can probably use all the support they can get.


If you want to support your loved one as they recover but aren't sure where to start, these tips can help. Read on to learn about some easy yet effective ways that you can let them know they're not alone as they heal.

1. Be of Service

After surgery, daily responsibilities that used to be easy can quickly become extremely challenging. One of the best things you can do to support someone who's recovering after surgery is to be of service and help them do things they can't easily do for themselves.


Simple ways that you can help out include:


  • Dropping off or picking up their children from school

  • Taking care of a pet

  • Cooking meals (or arranging for meals to be dropped off)

  • Washing dishes, vacuuming, or doing other household chores


Not only do these acts of service give your loved one a chance to rest and recover, but they also help reduce their risk of injury since they won't be overexerting themselves.

2. Pay Them a Visit

Even if you can't help with a lot of chores or meal preparation, just being present can also be helpful. Recovery can be lonely and boring at times, so making arrangements to drop by and visit can make a big difference.


Even if they're not up to talking and you just watch TV with them, it can make a big difference to a person's morale when they know that someone cares and is willing to spend time with them. Some research also shows that social support can help people recover and regain their health faster than those who feel isolated.

3. Bring Them a Useful Gift

Flowers and fruit baskets are nice, of course, but it's also great to get a gift that will actually be useful in their day-to-day life. Good examples of practical post-surgery gifts include:


  • Ice packs

  • Heating pads

  • Extra pillows

  • Lift chairs for people recovering from knee or hip surgery

  • Reach extenders for people who have to remain seated or lying down

  • A long-handled shower brush to make bathing easier

  • A shower chair for those who cannot stand for extended periods of time

4. Provide Transportation

One of the greatest struggles that people face when recovering from surgery is figuring out how they're going to get to appointments and other locations. Depending on the type of procedure your loved one had, they might not be able to drive at all for several weeks.


It's easy to feel isolated or overwhelmed when you have no means of transportation. To show support for your loved one and to keep them safe, make sure they have access to rides when they need them.


Figure out their follow-up appointment schedule and help them make arrangements so that they always have a way to get where they need to be.

5. Be in it for the Long Haul

It's common for people to get a lot of support immediately after their surgery. But, that support often tends to taper off as their recovery goes on. It's easy for people, even those who mean well, to get caught up in their own lives and forget that their loved ones are still in need of support.


One of the best things you can do for a person who's just had surgery is to make sure you're present throughout the entirety of their recovery. You don't have to be by their bedside every single day. But, make sure you continue to check in on them and pay them visits from time to time.

Final Thoughts

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to figure out how to support a loved one after they've had surgery. But, as you can see, it's not as challenging as you might initially think. There are lots of simple things you can do that can have a big impact on a person's ability to recover.