Osteoporosis & Lowering the Risk of Falls
More than one-third of seniors aged 65+ fall every year, and the risk of repeat falls increases with age. These falls can have catastrophic consequences, especially for adults with osteoporosis – a condition in which the bones become more brittle and prone to fractures. Once someone with osteoporosis sustains one fracture, it can have a cascade effect where they are more likely to have another fracture within the next 12 months. The most hazardous fall injury, by far, is hip fracture. In fact, the mortality rate is 20%, while 70% remain permanently disabled. Very few preserve their former physical strength and mobility, thus decreasing their independence and ability to get around.
The Risk Factors for Falling
Learning how to be prepared helps avoid the risk of any type of fall injury. Environmental factors and intrinsic factors are both at play when it comes to the risk of falling. For example, an environmental factor includes home hazards such as loose rugs or cords on the floor, insufficient lighting, and unstable furniture. “Intrinsic” factors are those that a person cannot control as easily, such as impaired balance, mobility, and gait. Osteoporosis patients may also have muscle weakness, impaired vision, or slow walking speed. While some of these factors can be modified, it’s important to practice fall prevention to avoid injury.
The following steps can help prevent falls:
- Fall-proofing: Make your home “fall-proof” by removing environmental hazards, installing grab bars and handrails, and make sure your rooms are well lit.
- Exercise: Although it may seem like it would be the opposite, keeping up with regular physical activity can actually improve balance and muscle strength.
- Eye exams: It’s crucial for seniors to have regular eye exams and keep their eyeglasses clean and in good condition. Seniors should wear sunglasses on bright days.
- Good footwear: Wearing comfortable shoes with a broad heel and non-slip rubber soles can make all the difference.
- Healthy eating: Good nutrition can keep your body as healthy as possible. A diet including fresh vegetables, fruit, and calcium-rich foods can improve body conditioning.
- Wear hip protectors: Research shows the external hip protectors, or propylene shells, absorb the impact of falling to the tissue around the hip.
Contact At Home Healthcare for Further Information
Do you need help fall-proofing your home, or help with your loved one who has osteoporosis? An in-home caregiver can make all the difference. These professionals are well versed in helping the elderly, particularly with age-related conditions such as osteoporosis. Fall-proofing is one important step you can take to make sure that your loved one is safe in their own home.
To reach At Home Healthcare, please contact us at (877) 959-9093 today.