Albert, a 78-year-old man, stepped outside with his two small dogs on leashes. It was a cold winter day, so it was just a quick trip outside for the dogs to do their business. As he stood waiting, a neighbor approached with her dog. When Albert’s dogs got excited, they wrapped their leashes around his legs, and Albert fell to the ground. He landed on his right hip. The pain was excruciating, and he knew something terrible had happened. Doctors in the emergency rooms confirmed his fears, Albert’s hip was broken.
Hip fractures are a serious and common injury in people aged 65 and older. Unfortunately, the recovery from such a break is difficult, and many people are unable to live alone after breaking a hip. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 300,000 older adults are hospitalized each year as a result of hip fractures. They also say that 95 percent of those fractures are a result of falls, mostly sideways falls. As a person ages, their risk for a hip fracture goes up.
Risk Factors for Hip Fracture
In addition to age, there are several other things that raise a senior’s chance of suffering a hip fracture, such as:
- Gender: Women suffer hip fractures more often than men. They are more likely to develop osteoporosis. The CDC also says that women fall more often than men.
- Nutrition: People who had a poor diet in their younger years, lacking vitamin D and calcium, can make a person prone to hip fractures. This is because it reduces their peak bone mass. In addition, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia can cause bone problems because of a lack of nutrients.
- Medication: Some medications, like cortisones, taken over a long period of time can make bones weaker. Also, some drugs have dizziness as a side effect or may cause dizziness when combined with other medications.
- Lack of Exercise: Leading a sedentary lifestyle, lacking weight-bearing exercise, reduces bone density.
- Smoking and Alcohol: Tobacco and alcohol inhibit the building and maintenance of bone tissue, which leads to bone loss.
Preventing Hip Fractures
There are steps that can be taken to help improve bone health and prevent falls. Some things you can do to help your aging family member avoid a hip fracture are:
- Have them screened for osteoporosis.
- Make sure their diet includes enough calcium and vitamin D.
- Encourage your family member to exercise, such as by taking walks together or enrolling them in a senior exercise class.
- Remind them to limit alcohol intake. WebMD recommends no more than one drink per day for women and two per day for men.
- Help them to quit smoking.
If you are concerned about a senior’s risk for hip fracture, or if someone you love has already suffered a fracture, hiring a senior care provider can help. Senior care providers can help prevent hip fractures by preparing nutritious meals, reminding older adults to take doctor recommended supplements, and going for walks with them. For seniors who have limited mobility because of a hip fracture, a senior care provider can help them to get around. If dressing and showering are difficult, a senior care provider can assist with both.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Wall, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.