A hip fracture has a tremendous impact on the life and health of elderly men and women. Not only does a hip fracture mean a change in the long-term physical function, complications from the break and the treatment surgery can actually be life-threatening. For many seniors, it signals the end of independent living and the start of elder care assistance or moving to a long-term care facility. Treating a hip fracture requires surgery and months of healing and physical therapy.
Family caregivers may not quite understand how serious a hip fracture can be, but they can do a lot to help prevent this devastating injury from happening to their elderly loved one.
Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly
Seniors are more likely to sustain a hip fracture than any other segment of the population. That’s because the bones in elderly adults grow weaker and become more brittle with age. Some bone diseases like osteoporosis can cause even more problems. Most of the hip fractures in the elderly are caused by a slip and fall accident. These are triggered by poor eyesight, weakened muscles, poor balance from vertigo or dizziness, drop in blood pressure when standing suddenly and slower reflexes.
Slip and fall accidents can happen just about anywhere, such as the bathroom, front yard, the store or even at the doctor’s office. When the elderly person does slip and start to fall, their reflexes are slower and they usually don’t catch themselves. The impact of the fall causes the bone in the hip to break. Other impactful events like a car crash or even turning the wrong way can also break the hip.
Tips on Preventing Hip Fractures in Seniors
Family caregivers can do a lot to prevent hip fractures in their aging relatives. The first thing is to ensure that slip and fall hazards are minimized. This means preparing the house by eliminating tripping hazards like rugs and clutter. Elders should have good, non-slip shoes whenever they are up and walking around. If their balance is off, they need to use a cane or a walker. Finally, seniors should be extremely careful when going outside on uneven ground or in icy and showy conditions.
Another thing that family caregivers can do is to boost bone density. It’s never too late to start elderly adults on supplements of vitamin D and calcium, which can help make bones stronger. Certain medications like bisphosphonates and calcitonin can help those that suffer with osteoporosis. Elders can also benefit from a healthy diet and light exercise to build strength and improve balance.
Elders that break their hip are also more likely to break their hip again in the future. That’s why it’s important for family caregivers, elder care assistants, community senior services and other family members to do everything they can to reduce the elderly adult’s risk of breaking their hip in the first place. Because the risk of breaking a hip increases with age, there’s no better time to begin preventative measures.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Tacoma WA, contact the caring staff at Hospitality Home Care today. Call us at (206) 966-6552.