A fractured hip is one of the most devastating fall injuries, especially for older people. It is difficult to heal from a hip fracture, and many individuals find it hard to exist independently afterward. The incidence of hip fractures in the United States is expected to rise as the population ages, making it imperative to implement fall prevention for seniors and work towards minimizing the risk of osteoporosis, all of which are leading causes of hip fractures in the elderly.
Risk Factors of Hip Fracture in the Elderly
People who have osteoporosis are most at risk of a hip fracture. Age is also a significant risk factor, with most elderly losing bone mineral density over the years. Other factors that may increase your risk include:
- insufficient physical activity
- Poor nutrition, particularly a calcium and vitamin D deficient diet
- Vision problems
- Dementia and other cognitive issues
- Physical issues
- Drugs that induce bone loss
- Using cigarettes
Falls are more likely in those who have disorders including weakness, impairment, or an unstable gait.
Other hazards may exist, depending on your health condition. Discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.
How to Prevent Hip Fractures in the Elderly
If you’re living alone or have an elderly loved one who does, preventing falls or minimizing other risk factors is crucial. Here are some helpful prevention tips:
- Make sure your elderly loved one’s house is safe and free of trip hazards to help them avoid hip fractures.
- Make sure the rooms are well-lit. The lighting should not be excessively bright or too dark. Check that light switches are easily accessible.
- Rugs and carpets should be tacked down or removed to help avoid slips or falls.
- Make bathrooms safer by installing a bath chair and skid-resistant shower mats. Install grab bars where they are required. Make sure the toilet seats are high enough to allow for a simple transition.
- Check that the chairs are sturdy and have armrests.
- Protect yourself from falls in the kitchen. Install a rubber mat in front of the sink and apply non-slip wax to the floor. Organize commonly used goods so that they are conveniently accessible on low shelves.
- Install handrails on stairwells and make sure the steps aren’t slick.
You might also discuss the following with your loved one:
- Scheduling regular eye exams.
- Wearing practical, flat shoes with a firm sole.
- Being aware of the potential adverse effects of medications.
- Ensure they’re taking their prescription medications as well as other supplements like calcium and vitamin D.
- Maintaining as much physical activity as possible through exercises that improve balance and leg strength, such as frequent walking, moderate yoga, or tai chi.
If your elderly loved one has a hip fracture, they will certainly require surgery, a hospital stay, and rehabilitation to ensure prompt recovery.
Treatment of Hip Fractures in Elderly
Hip fractures in the elderly are often treated with surgery to repair broken bones. If feasible, the operation is usually performed within twenty-four hours of being admitted to the hospital.
The objective of any hip fracture surgery is to position the shattered bones in place so that the patient may get out of bed as quickly as possible. Various treatments for hip fractures have been developed. Most hip fractures are treated with one of three methods: metal pins, a metal plate, and screws, or prosthetic replacement of the fractured femoral head.
On the first day following surgery, your care team will most likely get you out of bed and moving. Initially, physical therapy will concentrate on range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. Depending on the type of operation and assistance at home, you may need to transfer from the hospital to an extended care facility. In most cases, complete recovery from this damage might take between nine months and a year.
Osteoporosis, on top of other risk factors, is the leading cause of osteoporosis in the elderly. Older people must undergo regular checkups, osteoporosis screening, maintain an active lifestyle, etc., to lessen their susceptibility to a hip fracture. Treating hip fractures usually involves surgery with physical and occupational rehabilitation afterward.
Gateway Home Health and Hospice enables you to provide your loved ones with professionally-trained clinicians and therapists dedicated to providing the best home-based clinical care possible. If you are looking for elderly fall prevention assistance in Colorado, work with us today!