As the United States population ages, we are likely to see an increase in injuries that are specific to an elderly population. One of the most common and potentially serious injuries in Americans over 65 is hip fracture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 268,000 hospitalizations for hip fracture in Americans over 65 in the year 2010 alone. Of these incidents, one in five hip fractures results in fatal complications within one year of injury.
Who is at risk for hip fracture?
While both men and women over 65 are vulnerable to hip fracture, women are more likely to be seriously impaired by this injury. When a woman reaches the age of 85, the risk of potentially fatal complications of a hip fracture increases significantly.
Elderly Americans who live independently or in assisted care facilities may be more susceptible to hip fracture than those living with family or in nursing homes. Normal changes in weather, inadequate footwear or disorientation can lead to the type of fall that can easily result in a hip fracture.
How to protect your elderly relatives from falling
If your elderly loved one is living alone or in a nursing home or assisted living, it is essential that you take measures to protect him or her from dangerous fractures:
- Provide a healthy diet — adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D can help strengthen bones and prevent serious fractures
- Encourage regular weight-bearing exercise — such as yoga, Tai Chi and walking
- Seek diagnosis and treatment for osteoporosis
- Install handrails, grips, anti-slip stripping on stairs and take other safety precautions to prevent falls
- Check and monitor medications and assure your loved one is alert and has a good sense of balance
Many elder care facilities do not take adequate safety measures to protect residents from fall injuries. If your loved one falls and suffers injury or death as a result of negligence, you may be eligible to receive monetary compensation. Speak to a premises liability attorney at the Phoenix offices of Lewis and Pokora. Call for a free consultation to learn about your options.