As a licensed nurse of over 20 years, I have seen many heath concerns arise that most people do not consider as they grow older. A common concern among the elderly are hip fractures, which result because of reduced bone density. At Pomeroy Living communities we have well trained nursing staff that are always prepared to notice signs and help to get the best and most safe treatment plans in these situations.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), over 30,000 seniors 65 years and above are hospitalized for this condition yearly. Mostly, falls contribute to 95% of reported hip fractures.
Here, you will learn the best practices to help prevent and care for hip fractures in your elderly loved ones if they are not under the care of a Pomeroy Community.
How Do You Know If a Senior is Suffering from Hip Fracture?
A doctor is the only individual qualified enough to determine if a hip injury is indeed a fracture. That means your loved one must seek medical care. Common signs and symptoms the physician will look for when identifying a hip fracture include:
- Pain when the weight gets added to the leg
- The difference in leg length (the leg joined to the injured hip might appear shorter than the other one)
- Externally rotated leg
- Severe hip pain
- Limited motion of the injured leg
Risks Factors for Hip Fracture in Elderly Loved Ones
There are several factors that increase the risks of hip fractures, including:
- Diseases: Conditions like osteoporosis (which causes the weakening of bones and increases their susceptibility to breakage) can result in hip injuries or fractures. Other health issues, like diabetes, overactive thyroid, and intestinal problems, can also weaken the bones.
- Medications: Some drugs like prednisone weaken the bones, increasing the risks of hip fractures. Others often cause dizziness or drowsiness, leading to increased risks of slips and fall accidents.
- Alcohol use and Smoking Tobacco: Consuming too much alcohol or smoking for an extended period leads to weak bones.
- Malnutrition: Lack of proper nutrition while growing up can have a significant influence on your bone health as you age–typically, the lack of enough vitamin D and calcium.
- Unsafe Living Spaces: Home environments filled with throw rugs, pets, and kids’ toys, unstable furniture, electrical wires lying around, and poor lighting often increase the risk of falls in elderly individuals.
Tips to Prevent and Care for Hip Injuries in Seniors
- Seniors Need to Eat for Bone Health: Promote good health in older adults by providing them with sufficient vitamin D and calcium to keep bones strong and healthy. Talk to a nutritionists to identify the best levels of nutrients based on the age of the individuals and other factors.
- Work with a doctor: If your elderly loved one suffered from a hip fracture or currently has a hip injury, work with a doctor to learn ways to reduce the risk of falls. That includes reviewing drugs that can cause dizziness or fatigue. The physician can also screen the senior for osteoporosis and suggest nutrition to boost bone strength and density.
- Continued physical and weight-bearing exercises: By keeping fit, seniors can reduce weakened muscles and bone loss. Encourage exercises like dancing, walking, or climbing stairs. Pomeroy knows the importance of keeping seniors physically fit and have great fitness programs to keep our residents active.
- Offer adequate support: Assist your elderly loved ones with tasks like bathing, using the toilet, and dressing to reduce the risk of falls.
- Create a properly lit environment: If you share your living space with your elderly parent, ensure it is not too bright or dim. Also, make sure you place the switches in easily accessible areas.
- Plan for emergencies: Create a plan on how to handle an accidental fall or other emergencies to reduce the consequence if they do occur.
Growing older is an inevitable part of life and we understand health concerns may arise, including hip injuries or fractures. It is important that we learn the risk factors and symptoms early enough to treat or care for unforeseen hip injuries or fractures with ourselves or loved ones. For more information about Pomeroy Living, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org