Hip fractures in the elderly are more than a painful nuisance; they can lead to life threatening conditions. Below are 8 tips to help you avoid injury.
Take Simple Steps to Prevent Falls at Home
One of the easiest ways to prevent hip fractures in the elderly is to closely evaluate the safety of your living space. Ask a friend or relative to come in and help identify any potential tripping or falling hazards such as loose floor rugs, raised thresholds, or even poorly placed furniture. Since you’ve become used to your own living space, it may be harder for you to identify these potential hazards on your own.
Have Routine Eye Exams
This might seem like a no-brainer, but due to many factors – including difficulty in finding access to healthcare – many elderly don’t see the ophthalmologist as often as they should. Eyesight can deteriorate quickly in older adults, and in order to avoid hip fractures, you have to be able to see the potential hazards!
Adopt an Exercise Routine
We all know that exercise is important, but how does it help the elderly in avoiding hip fractures? Simply put: the more you move, the easier moving becomes. Getting your blood pumping helps to lubricate all the joints and muscles you need for a nice healthy stride. If you think you’re too tired to exercise, you might be surprised to learn that quick bursts of physical activity can actually make you more energetic! A daily 10 minute walk could be the difference between suffering a hip fracture or not.
Work on Your Balance
Balance exercises are another way to maintain strong muscles and prevent falls. Try standing directly behind a chair, and lift one leg out to the side for 10 seconds. Alternate leg lifts to promote healthy balance.
Consume Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential in maintaining the strength of your bones, and can go a long way in helping to prevent hip fracture, as well as aiding in hip fracture recovery. As bones become more brittle and weak in the elderly, it’s important to ask your doctor how much Vitamin D supplementation you need. Also, be aware that certain medications can affect the absorption or effectiveness of Vitamin D.
Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Just because you don’t suffer from diabetes doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to your blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar can cause headaches, dizziness, and sometimes fainting – all which could lead the elderly to fall and fracture a hip. Be sure to eat regularly. If you find that you don’t have much of an appetite, try eating several small meals over the course of the day.
Evaluate Prescribed Medications
As you become older, medications become a necessary part of maintaining your health, but some medications might be putting you more at risk for falls and hip fractures than you realize. Are you taking any medications that make you dizzy or lightheaded? If you have medications that need to be taken with food, are you fastidious about following those guidelines? If any of your medications cause you to feel unsteady on your feet, it’s time to talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.
Reconsider Alcohol Consumption
It’s fine to enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time, but be aware of the impact that alcohol may have on you, especially if you’re taking medications that might be effected by your alcohol intake. Not only can alcohol consumption impair your ability to make wise decisions, but it can also make you just plain clumsy–a sure way to cause hip fractures in the elderly.
With just a little exercise and a few changes to your diet, you could greatly help your chances of avoiding a hip injury.