Hip fractures are one of the most debilitating injuries to the elderly. According to the CDC, 300,000+ people age 65+ are hospitalized each year for broken hips, with 95% of those fractures caused by falling. In addition, falls are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury in the elderly.
There is considerable evidence that remaining active and exercising is critical to the health of elderly people. However, fear of falling is one of the primary reasons these people are reluctant to take part in physical activities.
Here are 7 tips for helping elderly parents and friends prevent injuries, such as hip fractures and brain trauma.
Consult with a physician to evaluate the elderly person for osteoporosis and other chronic diseases that increase the changes for hip and other fractures. Osteoporosis is a leading cause of bone weakening, especially among older women. Also, a physician will ensure that the elderly person has adequate Vitamin D, which is critical for building strong bones.
Speak with a pharmacist to determine if any prescribed and/or over-the-counter medications are interacting to cause dizziness or lack of attention.
Encourage seniors to have annual eye examinations to screen for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and/or cataracts. Update vision prescriptions if needed.
Help elderly parents and friends remain active, especially through exercises that can improve balance and muscle tone/strength. These can include Tai Chi, walking, and chair exercises. Be sure to consult with a physician to determine the elderly person’s capabilities and ways for her to remain safe.
Minimize conditions in the home environment that can lead to a fall and fracture or brain trauma. This includes removing clutter placed on the floor, such as clothing, throw rugs and electrical wires. Also evaluate availability of adequate lighting, including placement of night lights in strategic areas, such as the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.
Improve safety in bathrooms and other areas of the home that are often wet and are a leading source of injuries for the elderly. Install safety aids in the bathroom, such as bars and raised toilet seats. These will enable your elderly parent or friend to perform required activities safely.
Remind your elderly parents or friends of all the above tips on a regular basis. Serve as a resource for transporting her or arranging transportation to the physician’s or other healthcare professional’s office and/or locations that offer physical activity and exercise. Also, perform home safety inspections to identify/correct issues, such as poor lighting, clutter in walking pathways, and problems with safety devices.
We can help our elderly parents/friends avoid falls that can lead to hip and other fractures and brain trauma. Ensure regular visits with physicians and other health professionals, adequate activity and exercising, and monitoring of home environments to maximize safety.
Also, if you want to arm yourself with the information needed to motivate an elderly parent or friend to remain active and exercise, take a look at this new e-book by clicking here.
Learn more about blog creator Steven Watson’s background related to helping elderly people remain active and safe by clicking here to access his Amazon Author’s Page.