9 ways to prevent fractures in elderly at home

It is a known fact that as you grow old your bones become weak and makes you prone to falls and fractures, a reason why elderly people are at risk of suffering from fractures too often. Bone health deteriorates steadily with age. ‘Older people are more prone to osteoporosis a condition in which bones become fragile and brittle, leading to higher risk of breakage. This occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them,’ says Dr Miten Sheth, Orthopedic Knee Surgeon, Knee Clinic. Osteoporosis affects one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50.

Referred to as a ‘silent’ disease, osteoporosis generally has no symptoms and is rarely diagnosed until bones break or fracture. Osteoporosis is the disease and fractures are the outcomes. Since older people are more prone to fracture it becomes necessary for other family members to take care that they don’t fall or get hurt at home that could lead to fractures.

Here are some simple steps suggested by Dr Miten Sheth to minimise fracture in the elderly at home.

1. Clean up clutter. The easiest method for preventing falls is to keep your home neat and tidy. Remove all clutter, especially from hallways and staircases.

2. Repair or remove tripping hazards like a loose tile or cracks on the floor, loose carpet ends, slippery throw rugs, etc. Sometimes home fixtures can contribute to falls, which can then lead to back pain and other injuries. Repair, remove or replace such items for more effective fall prevention.

3. Install grab bars and handrails. These safety devices are crucial for getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the shower without injuring oneself.

4. Ask your elders not to wear loose clothes. Baggy clothes can sometimes make them more likely to fall. Opt for better-fitting and properly hemmed clothing that doesn’t bunch up or drag on the ground.

5. Light it right. Inadequate lighting is another major hazard. To create a home that’s more suitable for the elderly, install brighter light bulbs where needed, particularly in hallways. Add night-lights in bedrooms and bathrooms for better guidance at night.

6. Wear shoes if you wear socks. Socks may be comfortable, but they present a slipping risk.

7. Make the flooring nonslip. Nonslip mats are a must, especially in the bathroom.

8. Live on one level. Even with precautions like guardrails, stairs can present a significant falling hazard.

9. Many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Tell your elders to take a short pause after going from lying down to sitting and from sitting to standing.

Image source: Shutterstock

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