A broken hip is painful and inconvenient at any age. It can also be dangerous because it can lead to life-threatening health complications. Your odds of losing your life due to a hip fracture increases even for adults as young as age 50.
The hip fracture itself isn’t always the culprit. Instead, it is the chain reaction of health issues that often accompany the experience. From pneumonia to infections, one in three people who break a hip will die from complications within one year of the event.
What We Know About Hip Fractures
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are startling when it comes to hip fractures and adults over the age of 65:
- 300,000 seniors a year experience a broken hip
- 75 percent of these fractures occur in women
- 95 percent of hip fractures are linked to a fall
- 50 percent of the falls involving a broken hip happen at home
In addition to the human toll, falls among seniors come at a significant cost to the health care system. In 2010, those expenses reached $30 billion dollars. As the number of older adults in this country climbs, this number will likely rise with it.
What can an older adult and their family members do to avoid a hip fracture? We have some suggestions:
1. Conduct a home safety assessment.
Since falls are the leading cause of broken hips and most falls take place at home, the first step is to conduct a home safety evaluation.
If you aren’t comfortable conducting an assessment on your own, talk with your primary care physician. They will likely refer you to a physical or occupational therapist who can provide this service. The therapist can identify potential hazards and make recommendations on how to address them.
2. Be screened for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis increases the risk for bone fractures of all kinds, including hips. Many times, older adults aren’t aware they have this disease until they experience a broken bone. By working with your physician and undergoing routine bone density screenings, a senior may be able to avoid osteoporosis.
3. Have regular vision exams.
Poor vision can increase the risk for a fall which can result in a broken hip. This is one of the many reasons older adults should have a yearly vision exam. From a change in prescription to identifying cataracts, the eye doctor can identify and intervene in small issues before they become big ones.
4. Participate in strength and balance exercises.
By regularly participating in exercises that help to improve core strength and balance, a senior can remain more limber and flexible. Both stretching and flexibility can aid in preventing falls. A few types of senior-friendly exercises to consider include Tai Chi, Pilates, chair yoga, resistance bands, and walking.
Safety and Senior Living
From an environment designed to minimize the fall risk to emergency call systems, senior living communities offer a variety of safety features. If you would like to schedule a time to visit a Sunrise community and learn more, please call us at 888-434-4648. One of our experienced team members will be happy to make the arrangements!