Living alone - will I be able to manage after a TKR?


Nurse Director
Jun 8, 2007
The North
United Kingdom United Kingdom
First of all take all the help you can get. But having said that, you will be amazed at how little help you actually need. It's really all in the mind, this 'got to have help, I'll be an invalid' thing! Let me tell you how it was for me.

I also live alone in a semi detached house, what I understand you call a duplex! I couldn't find anyone that would stay with me so I was resigned to coping alone. I bought in heaps of food (and cat food) and aids and an alarm to summon help if needed, etc. Then, in the very last few days, my brother and his wife decided to come and stay which was a great relief but only for about 5 days. They would drive up the day of my discharge, arriving about 6pm but I would be home from hospital around midday.

Day of discharge arrives, day 6 post-op; I have a taxi bring me home. My drive gates are locked but I'm not going to try going down the steps of the single gate. While I am struggling with the combination lock (awfully difficult thing to read upside down!) the taxi driver dumps my cases at the front door and drives off! :DOH:

So my first task is to get the two cases inside which I managed with amazing ease.

Second task, of course, is to feed the cats. Amazed myself by bending down to pick plates and again to put down the filled ones. Cats weren't amazed - they only wanted the food!

Then I went upstairs to 'change into something comfortable'! And down again. Made myself a sandwich and a drink and took them through into the sitting room (not so easy with two crutches!). Made myself comfy on the recliner and proceeded to log on only to find I'd not switched on the router ------ which is upstairs! :sigh:

So up I go again to get myself online and then finally down again and by the time my brother and his wife arrived, I was good and comfy, both me and the cats were fed and watered and I was catching up with posts on BoneSmart!

In the end, they stayed 6 days and though it was lovely to have them here, specially good to have sil standing by outside the bathroom shouting encouragement while I got into and out of the bath for my shower each morning, I really could have managed on my own.

After that six days, I was on my own for the rest of the time and managed very well. I know if/when the next knee has to be done, I'll not bother one wit about being on my own then. I know I'll be able to manage and I think you will be able to as well.

If I needed fresh stuff like milk, bread, fruit and veg, friends or neighbours would readily get it for me. But in the UK our supermarkets deliver so I was okay for all that - and the cat food!

I really wouldn't worry about it - you'll be more than ready to cope on your own.

And any stairs will be good therapy! :wink1:

Edited March 2016

Second knee:
Done Wed Jan 7, home on Saturday. Should have been Friday but I had a little run in with nausea and vomiting (oxycontin) besides which, I was going home to an empty house. I'd arranged for a carer to visit every morning to see me upstairs and stand by while I had a shower. I'd had the bath removed and a snazzy shower cubicle put in so that was ace!

First few days I was a leetle bit shaky on the stairs but it really was just nerves. Showered and dried myself and came back down with support. The carer only stayed about 30 mins and then I was on my own again. Managed to get my own food and drink, feed the cats and other things, no problem. Just took it really easily.

After 5 days, I stopped the carer as I felt I could cope on my own. However, I did have an absolutely terrific neighbour who kept popping in, feeding the cats, getting me a drink, bringing a little meal and - this'll make you laugh - took my washing up home with her to do in her dishwasher! So I was basically left quiet and able rest, ice and all that without any fuss. My cats loved it, spent a great part of their day asleep beside me.

A tip - on both occasions I bought in and cooked a load of stuff, soups, pies, pizzas, you name it. I touched almost none of it and about 60% was chucked out a year later! :umm: :whistle: :shrug:


Feb 11, 2011
United States
I also live alone

When came home from the Hospital after 3 days, I had a friend stay with me up until week 1 - then my mom stayed with me (not 24/7 but stayed over night) for 4 more nights.

Looking back? what was GREAT about this? is my meds arrived on time, Ice was re-supplied and healthy food came my way.

I could have done this one my own? but I am 100% sure it would have been a lot harder. It was nice to be able to REST and heal, not worry about my pets needs and house chores. That and instead of waking up sore and NEEDED to get ice, someone would bring it to me. I would have someone stay a few nights if at all possible? you may find you don't need them but there is nothing worse than needing help and not having it........ the recover is not easy! I spent HOURS those first weeks just napping, it was nice to have someone take care of me!

One other thing, I was tired enough when first home, I think there is a "chance" I could have made mistakes in my meds.... I was lucky enough to have help so I never had to consider if I could keep track of them. I was amazed at the difference a few days made in my awareness as well as mobility.


Apr 4, 2011
United States
United States United States
I live alone and after both of my tkr's, my teenage nieces came for the first few days after I got home from the hospital (on post-op day 3). They were good for the little things like getting me a drink or a snack, but I would have done ok without them. I enjoyed having them there since they are great kids and loved helping me- they loved it because I have cable tv and a wii and they don't have those at their house!

If you are having out-patient PT, you will need someone to drive you for a bit. Every doctor is different about when you are allowed to drive. I was cleared to drive on post-op day 12 with both knees (the day I got my staples out) but some drs won't clear you to drive until 6 weeks or so, and if you are taking narcotics you shouldn't drive either.


Former BoneSmart staff member
Dec 5, 2010
United States United States
I wrote down every med I took. I needed to refer back to that record often!


junior member
Jun 4, 2008
New Jersey, United States
When I had my TKR in May of 2008, I was supposed to go to a rehab as I live alone. I had prepped my apartment with all kinds of foods, beverages, sleeping quarters near everything, etc. Unfortunately, I had a DVT and was in the hospital for seven days instead of three (with no PT, I might add).

On my 6th day in the hospital, I told them I had to get out of bed and move around. The doctor saw me walking with the walker and getting up into my bed the next day. He asked, "Do you want to go to the rehab today or go home?" HOME! Alone, I didn't care ... HOME!

I had no real problems. Yes, there was pain. Yes, I had to do for myself and force myself to get around when I would have preferred to stay in bed. But I think the fact that no one waited on me hand and foot helped my recovery. I had friends I could call but for the most part I had to do for myself. My bend came along slowly mainly due to not getting immediate PT in the hospital. But, other than that, I did very well and think a big part of it was having to do for myself.

Now I'll be having the right knee done in June. And, of course, I'm planning on returning home ... and alone. (I've already been stocking DVDs!)


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