Statistics show that the need for surgery increases as we age. As much as 53 percent of surgeries are performed on individuals over the age of 65. Many surgeries require the use of general anesthesia which carries additional risks for older adults. One area that can be affected more severely in the elderly population is cognition. It is common for anyone undergoing surgery to feel foggy or sluggish for a few days after surgery as the anesthesia works its way out of their system. But for older adults, that same feeling of sluggishness can go on for weeks, or even months. In addition, memory and thinking may be affected. For a person with a chronic condition like dementia, the risk of lasting effects is even greater. It is important to weigh the risks vs benefits before any surgical procedure.
Check out this article about “Cognitive Effects of Anesthesia on the Elderly” for more information.
If you are a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, consider trying out our support group for caregivers of loved ones with dementia. We meet monthly, the 4th Tuesday at 10am at the Interfaith Caregivers office, 301 N. Main St., Blue Earth.