Something as simple as sliding on a wet spot or tumbling over a loose rug can mean a big change in your life, particularly if you’re a senior. While people of all ages can fall, falls and hip fractures in seniors are more common and riskier.
In terms of prevalence, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) reveals that 1 in 4 Americans aged 65 and above falls each year. In terms of severity, the National Safety Council indicates that falls account for the highest number of injury deaths to people aged 65 and above. Approximately 10,000 seniors die annually from falls.
Outcomes Resulting from Falls and Hip Fractures in Seniors
Up to 30% of seniors who fall sustain serious life-altering injuries, including head trauma, lacerations, or fractures. Of all the fractures from falls, hip fractures account for the greatest number of deaths. Studies indicate that 1 in 5 patients with a hip fracture succumbs to death within a year of their injury.
Treatment for hip fractures normally involves a combination of surgery, medication and rehabilitation. Studies indicate that 1 in 3 adults who lived independently prior to their hip fracture will lose their independence and mobility, thus will need senior in-home care for at least a year after their injury.
While seniors are generally at an increased risk of falls and hip fractures, there are those that are at more risk. They include:
- Women: they sustain three-quarters of all hip fractures
- Seniors above 85: they are more likely to sustain hip fractures compared to those aged 60-65.
- Seniors with vision problems: eye problems that interfere with vision increase a senior’s risk of falling.
- Seniors with Osteoporosis: those with the condition are at an increased risk of sustaining a hip fracture.
5 Ways of Preventing Falls and Hip Fractures in Seniors
- Make your home safer: this involves reducing tripping hazards, placing non-slip mats, securing loose carpeting, installing grab bars in the shower and toilet, installing railings on both sides of the stairway, and improving the lighting in your home.
- Have your medications reviewed: ask your pharmacist or doctor to review all your medications – both over-the-counter and prescription medicines – to identify those that may cause interactions or side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness.
- Get screened: be sure to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist annually to ensure that you don’t have vision issues. Also consider getting screened and, if needed, treated for osteoporosis. You should also undergo an evaluation for underlying neurological or heart conditions.
- Get adequate vitamin D and calcium: get the daily-recommended levels of vitamin D and calcium from food and/or from supplements.
- Exercise regularly: as able, engage in exercises that focus on improving balance and increasing leg strength. Bicycling, yoga, and Tai Chi are considered great exercises for seniors.
How Senior In-home Care Can Help Seniors Avoid Falls and Fractures
If your loved one wishes to remain in the comfort of his/her home, senior in-home care can help keep his/her safety a top priority. The following are the ways in which in-home care providers can help seniors avoid falls and fractures:
- Make home environments safer: caregivers can identify and reduce fall risks and other safety risks, and make easy home modifications to make senior citizen’s home environments safer and more secure.
- Help seniors stay physically active: caregivers help seniors get regular exercises, enjoy outdoor activities, and assist them run errands.
- Assist with walking: caregivers can assist seniors when walking on uneven surfaces, icy surfaces, or unfamiliar surfaces.
- Help with medications: caregivers can help seniors with medications to ensure that they take their medicines as prescribed, and to ensure that the medications taken don’t have adverse serious side effects.
- Help with doctor appointments: caregivers can help seniors keep up with their doctor appointments to ensure that underlying problems are detected and treated early.
- Help with meal preparation: caregivers can help seniors meet their daily nutritional needs by preparing foods rich in nutrients that beneficial to seniors.
Staggering statistics associated with falls and hip fractures in seniors make prevention of senior falls a priority for seniors and their loved ones. A Peaceful Way Home Care is a senior in-home care agency in Palos Verdes that acknowledges the need for awareness, edification, and prevention of falls and hip fractures in seniors.
Contact A Peaceful Way Home Care today for an in-home assessment for caregiving service in Palos Verdes, Torrance, and the surrounding South Bay communities.