Seniors and Anesthesia
More than 12 percent of the U.S. population is older than 65 – and more than half of those will undergo at least one surgical procedure as senior citizens. In the coming years, the number of retirees, as well as the number of them having surgery, is expected to grow substantially.
Senior citizens face increased risks for complications during and after surgery. These may include postoperative delirium, a condition that causes some patients to become confused and disoriented for up to a week after surgery, and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD), which is defined as having long-term problems with loss of memory, learning and the ability to concentrate.
Your anesthesiologist can discuss these risks with you and answer any questions you may have about having surgery as a senior citizen. In addition, ASA has many resources in this section to help prepare you for your procedure:
Important Tips for Seniors and Their Caregivers Prior to Surgery
Surgical Checklist for Seniors PDF
Medication Checklist PDF
Alzheimer's Disease and Anesthesia
Geriatric Anesthesia Q & A
Roger and Janet: The Story of a Patient and His Caregiver
Kristy: Managing Delirium from a Caregiver’s Perspective