Ask the nurse for some extra pairs of those socks with rubberized sole patterns. They’re great at home for preventing falls, too.
Encourage them to do as much as they can for themselves, within the limits of safety. While it’s tempting to do little things for them, like fetch the remote instead of letting them reach for it, it’s those little things which keep conditioning up and keep people feeling and acting independently.
Bring home absolutely everything in their hospital rooms that isn’t nailed down or obviously hospital property (bed linens and pillows are hospital property, sorry). Anything else put into the room that’s meant for only one person to use it - like the plastic basin, the soap, the little pitcher they bring ice water in, but also suture removal kits which come with nifty but “disposable” scissors and tweezers, excess band-aids and half rolls of tape…if it’s opened in there, it’s got to be thrown out when they leave, to prevent infection from one patient to another. Might as well take it and use it.
If either one is on Medicare, you can very likely get a home nurse to come in for a couple of weeks (usually a visit or two per week, unless someone is unstable) to teach you anything you’d like to know about caring for them and getting them better. (One must be “homebound” to Medicare standards for this benefit, but most older folks immediately post-op qualify for at least a short time.) If needed, the home nurse can also get you safety devices like grab bars in the shower, raised toilet seats, shower benches, etc. at no out of pocket cost *and *get them installed for you! If any wound care supplies, like gauze and tape or fancy expensive dressings are ordered by the doctor, the home health company will get them for you and Medicare will pay for them. If either or both need it, they can get Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and/or Speech Therapy at home, too, until they’re ready to leave the house. There’s also a benefit for a visit from a Medical Social Worker, who can help with community resources they may not know about. If they have only private insurance, you can check with their 1-800 number to see if they have a benefit for Home Health Care and what the limits may be.
Even if they don’t qualify as homebound, many home health companies will send out someone to do a free one time safety check and make recommendations to make the home safer. Things like removing throw rugs, putting lamps on both sides of the bed, grab bars, bannisters on both sides of stairs, contrast stripes on stair edges…we’ve got lots of suggestions! We like to go out and do this because it gives us a way to make a connection and get our card into your hands so if one of them needs home health down the road, you can call us.
And I second what **Iggy **says: don’t freak out if your mom seems worse off than your dad for a bit. It’s expected.