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Upcoming Surgery


New member
Dec 3, 2019
Hi, this is my first post so hope it’s alright! My OH was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 16 months ago and everyday is now a challenge. Sundowning, confusion, anxiety, anger, she’s had it all. Continually wants to go out as cannot relax for more than 10 minutes at a time, these cold dark winter evenings certainly do not help. Daytimes not so much of a problem.

My concern now is she has a partial knee replacement operation scheduled for the week before Christmas. Recovery for a fit person is around 2 weeks on crutches then gradual improvement going forward. In light of the continual need to be on the go, and not able to relax, coupled with struggling to use crutches even in practice, has anyone else out there had the same, or similar, problem to deal with, to ensure a full as possible recovery. Any advice on how to deal with the inevitable potential problems would be appreciated. If the operation wasn’t so badly needed I wouldn’t put her through it.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I`ve no experience to offer you @Byfleet50 I wish I had.

I just want to welcome you to Dementia Talking Point, to wish your OH well and to hope someone with experience of this type of surgery has some support to offer.


Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
The nearest we got to that was when my wife fell and fractured her patella and finger. The knee required a 6 week recovery period wearing a splint on her leg and using crutches. Her finger was also splinted and bandaged. This was all as a day case with no overnight stay required.

It was somewhat of a nightmare period as she would refuse to sit with her leg elevated, clamour all the time for the splint to be removed and generally not understand or remember what had happened. We had long hospital visits for assessment and treatment at the fracture clinic and plastics department. Sitting still whilst waiting at the hospitals was a trial because of her impatience. The longest waits were whenever she had to see a doctor. I accompanied her to every consultation as she could not remember what she was told for more than a few minutes.

There were several months of physiotherapy appointments at one hospital for her knee and a different one for her finger. The physiotherapists were brilliant with her and the appointments soon became the social highlight of our life at that time.

As for the crutches, she hardly used them except if I supervised her and was very soon able to show the physiotherapist that she no longer needed them. Eventually her knee and finger healed and we were back to normal until she slipped and broke her humerus a year later. That time, getting her to wear a sling for 6 weeks became the object of my days.

Sorry to say that dealing with the hospitalisation and recuperation period will not be easy but if the operation is necessary it is best to be prepared for what follows.


Registered User
Mar 25, 2017
South of the Border
My OH was just before diagnosis with vascular dementia when he became horrendously ill with Crohns and was in hospital for 2 months, It was a nightmare situation for him ( he did not understand what was happening) and for me. Hospital explained things to him when I could not be there, he did not understand, they did not realise he did not understand, and he upset the ward with his behaviours. The nightmare continued after he was discharged, as his dementia progressed rapidly due to the illness and anesthetic.
I do not wish to make your troubles worse, but you should be prepared.... sorry


New member
Dec 3, 2019
Hi, many thanks for all your advice/warnings. I realise, as you have all advised, how bad it’s likely to be. Recovery certainly won’t be easy. I take on board the comment regarding anaesthesia, but am being guided by both the knee Consultant and the Psychiatrist Consultant. The former, right from the offset, advised that General Anaesthetic is definitely out and will be done under an epidural type of anaesthetic to reduce the further problems that it could have on the memory. The Psychiatrist also agrees, and based on this thought the operation could proceed. I have always been concerned as regards her stay in hospital, which might only be 1 night, probably 2, and all the staff are aware of the Alzheimer’s and assume they are used to dealing with this, and the likely problems that they could come across. I am going to have to insist that any discussion in hospital as regards her treatment and recovery is only done when I am present, although maybe that’s wishful thinking. Having read all your comments I think I’m ready now for what lies ahead, beit good or bad