How to Prepare for Hip Surgery - Part 2

This is the second part of a two series column addressing how to prepare for hip surgery. Last week I listed online resources and preparing the home, post-surgery.

This week, the column offers tips about assistive devices, food, and pet care. The information, written by a person who recently had hip surgery. It should not replace the advice of your doctor. The physician's office and hospital staff may have after care resources to help.

Post hospital, you will need pain and other medications at home. Find and contact a courier service before surgery, explain what and where they will pick up and deliver. Get information about rates and turnaround. Rates are normally higher outside weekday business hours. Check on or on Amazon for a partner pharmacy that delivers.

Food - Nutrition is important for healing and recovery. The freezer is invaluable. Shop and prepare food before surgery, and freeze in single serving containers and prepare for a 4-week supply. Keep fresh fruit handy. Make a list of grocery stores and restaurants that deliver.

Assistive Devices & Supplies - First scout the local thrift and resale shops for items, and contact the local senior services, or your faith organization, to see if they loan out items:

  • Walker - hospitals may arrange for one, supplied via insurance, but there may be a co-pay (mine was $15). I often see these at thrift stores
  • Cane - you will eventually migrate from walker to cane. Get a foldable one, since you'll wean off as you strengthen. You may want to take it with you in case it's needed, and a foldable is simple to carry
  • Grabber - if budget allows, buy two, because you will drop one and not be able to bend over to retrieve
  • Tub Transfer Bench - used for bathing if you have a tub or a combination tub/shower
  • Shower chair - use if you have a walk-in shower, but no built-in seat, check out the local thrift stores.
  • Detachable Hand-Held Shower Head - facilitates bathing, to hold and to direct water while you sit.
  • Pre-Moistened Disposable Wash Cloths - to use when you don't feel strong enough to bathe.
  • Grab Bars for Shower or Tub
  • Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
  • Sock Aid - necessary for pulling on socks, as you are not able to bend down or over for weeks
  • Long-Handled Shoe Horn - facilitates putting on shoes, without bending
  • Slip-on, supportive shoes - you cannot tie shoelaces. Check out a product called "Hickies," it converts shoes/sneakers from tie to slip-on. (
  • Leg Lifter aid - assists in lifting and guiding your operated leg into the bed.
  • Ice Packs - to reduce swelling; I used a few packages of frozen peas.

(Most available at

Pets - I boarded my dog for two weeks. Try to locate pet care services or Google 'pet sitter.'

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Carol Marak, aging advocate, She's earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

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