Falls and Fractures In The Elderly – 3 Prevention Techniques

Long before a senior needs full-time care, they begin to lose some physical ability or steadiness. Often simultaneously, they also tend to become more fragile. Falls and fractures in the elderly are so common that one out of every three people over 65 fall at least once each year!

You may recognize your loved one’s condition and you may be afraid of them falling down when no one is around to help. Your senior loved one may also secretly fear falling, but many elders find it hard to accept or admit they might need some form of assistance.

Why Seniors Might Not Use Their Walkers And Canes

The use of a cane or walker may pose emotional difficulties as it is reveals weakness to family, friends, neighbors, and strangers–weakness the senior has hoped to postpone, ignore, or hide. Yet, falls and fractures in the elderly are often prevented by using these devices.

Ideally you would be able to get your loved one to understand that by choosing to use appropriate aids to prevent falling, they indicate to others that they are thinking clearly and responsibly. But reaching this understanding is not always possible.

Many elderly people refuse to consistently use canes or walkers even when they have them. The wish to prove to themselves and to others that they aren’t necessary. Or, the senior may easily forget to use these devices because it is when they first stand up that they usually have the most strength, but by the time they’ve crossed the room and tired out or gotten shaky, they can’t reach their walking aids.

Things You Can Do Around Your Senior’s Home To Help Prevent Falls

1.Give them plenty to hold onto:

Tell your loved one that you know at some point they will appreciate some things to help them avoid falling down, even if they don’t need them now. Tell them you want to be prepared in advance. You can install handrails in all the hallways and bathrooms. You can install more handrails or strong and firmly mounted towel racks around the kitchen walls. And you can get them multiple canes or walkers, so there’s one in every room or at multiple places along their commonly used pathways always within reach at any time they realize they need it. It is also important to make sure that adhesive slip resistant strips are put in all bathtubs and showers.

2.Clear their pathways:

Some seniors may not allow you to rearrange their things, but you can try telling them that you would feel better and not worry about them quite so much if a few trip hazards were removed. Thin rugs that tend to wrinkle, power cords that lay across walkways, and loose items like extra shoes that clutter the floor should all be removed.

What Gives Even Better Protection Against Falls and Fractures In The Elderly?

Your senior might not agree to the above suggestions, but even if they do, there’s still the chance they will fall at some time. And even with these precautions inside the home, what about while they are out of their house shopping or visiting?The hips are the bones most often broken when seniors fall. Even a small fracture can lead to long-term pain or even life-threatening complications. However, wearable hip protection has been proven to be effective in helping to prevent breaks and fractures. In an article by Tom Scheve titled 5 Most Commonly Broken Bones he writes: “There are few injuries that inhibit mobility and quality of life more than a fractured hip. In fact, all too often — nearly a quarter of the time for people over age 50 — a fractured hip leads to death due to complications in the year following the fracture

There are a variety of hip protectors on the market, but they fall into two general categories: soft,  energy-absorbing; or hard, energy-shunting. While either may work for people with a lot of soft tissue in their bodies, “bonier” seniors would get the best protection from the hard type of hip protector. If disposable underwear should ever become necessary, both of these types can be worn over it.

One of the main objections a senior might have to wearing a hip protector is that it creates a bulge in their clothing. Their concern, though, may be mitigated to a large degree by the wearing of loose-fitting pants and skirts. Ideally, though, the wearing of hip protectors should be something habitual and just a part of getting dressed in the morning.

Bonus Benefits Of Hip Protectors

If your senior loved has had some fear of falling, or they know someone who has broken a hip, then wearing a pair of hip protectors could give them enough confidence to be more physically active. And physical activity has many health benefits, including the improvement of flexibility and the strengthening of muscles as well as of bones.

Rarely has the proverbial “an ounce of protection” been more true than in the prevention of injuries due to falling. Falls and fractures in the elderly can be reduced substantially through these proactive steps. At Home and Hearth Caregivers, it is our mission to see all seniors as loved, comfortable, happy– and as well protected from preventable danger as possible.

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