Seniors who reside in a long-term care home are two to four times more likely to sustain a fracture than adults who are of a similar age but live in their own residence within the community. Such fractures impede upon a person’s quality of life by making them immobile and may also result in early death. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to determine which frail seniors are at risk because seniors health may already be fair to poor, consisting of multiple conditions (e.g. dementia, poor kidney function, ability to swallow) that hinder their risk assessment.
Tips for Preventing Fractures in Seniors
When you’re concerned about this important seniors health issue, there are some tips you should heed. These include:
- Make sure seniors receive enough calcium and Vitamin D. Supplements are a great way to do this. According to Osteoporosis Canada seniors need to get at least 1200 mg of calcium through their diet. When this doesn’t happen seniors should take a 500 mg calcium supplement daily. Their Vitamin D intake should be 800 – 2000 IU (international units) daily.
- Sometimes osteoporosis medications (a.k.a. bisphosphonates such as Alendronate or Fosamax; Risedronate or Actonel; ibandronate or Boniva; Zoledronic Acid or Reclast) are prescribed when a senior is seen as being at high risk for falling. When seniors are prescribed an osteoporosis medication it’s important that they take them exactly as prescribed. They’ll help them prevent any additional bone breakdown, maintain their current bone density, and thus decrease the likelihood of suffering from a fracture. Sometimes hormones (e.g. estrogen) or hormone-like medications are used for preventing and treating osteoporosis. However, this isn’t as common as it was in the past because research has discovered that these medications can cause an increase in the number of heart attacks a person may experience and that they also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
- Wearing hip protectors when prescribed play an important role in seniors health. These are clothing containing pads located around the hip and leg areas that will help patients prevent hip fractures if they do fall. This is because when the fall occurs the force that happens upon impact is dispersed to the soft tissue that surrounds your hip bone. Research and clinical tests have been conducted showing that people are less likely to suffer from hip fractures when they are wearing these clothes. However, there are also other studies that show these clothes have little to no efficacy. Nevertheless, they may be worth trying.
Guidelines for Reducing Fractures in Seniors
Although it is nice to know that there are some tips that can be followed to improve seniors health, what’s more important is for seniors to engage in strength and balance exercises regularly. These will help seniors reduce their risk of undergoing a debilitating fall. Some of the most effective exercises here include weight-bearing exercises, resistance training, and Tai Chi. They’ll help seniors effectively maintain their strength while also ensuring that they have good balance. Before engaging in any of these exercises it’s important for seniors to discuss them with their doctors.
Although these exercises have been shown to make a small reduction in the number of falls a person undergoes once they start engaging in these things, there are still other studies that show people undergo no improvement whatsoever. Based on this evidence many believe that the exercises that will benefit seniors health the most are ones that are tailored to meet their specific needs then carried out by qualified professionals. These goals can consist of pain prevention, improved mobility, aiding with transfers and care, preventing serious injuries and maximizing the quality of long-term living overall.
Another important component of seniors health is their hearing. Make sure they have it tested yearly. If you live in Clearwater, FL reach out to Countryside Hearing Aid Service to schedule an appointment today.
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