There are a number of risks associated with the harsh winter weather—not just the frigid temperatures. One of the most threatening winter hazards is the potential for slipping and falling on patches of ice or snow. These falls can lead to a variety of injuries—from cuts and scrapes to broken bones. In fact, fractured ankles (at any age) and broken hips (especially for those over 50) are two of the most frequent common injuries that can result from falls on ice or snow.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and are more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass, putting them at risk for broken bones. Therefore, researchers are continuing to work towards finding strategies to improve bone health and decrease osteoporosis risk.
A hip fracture is one of the most common injuries in older adults, with about 90% of fractures occurring in people over 60. Hip fractures usually require surgery (and possibly hip replacement) followed by intensive rehabilitation. It is critical that rehabilitation services begin early and continue until the patient reaches his or her maximal functional level.
Life is a continual balancing act. When we’re young, it may seem as though we’re able to take on everyday activities with ease. But, as we grow older, our senses and ability to efficiently perform multiple tasks at the same time start to slowly deteriorate. Even the simplest of simultaneous activities, such as walking and talking, can disrupt our balance and put us at risk for a serious fall-related injury.
If you ask older adults, “What are your biggest fears?” many will tell you they have a fear of falling. Some have already fallen, while others have witnessed a friend or family member suffer a fall and its painful or sometimes life-threatening consequences.
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Finds Better Way to Prevent Falls
December 26, 2013 Karen Drake
When residents come to Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, they are here because they need round-the-clock care, often including regular medical attention. But, this is still where they live, and we are always trying to find ways to make our residents feel at home. This often means finding a balance between creating a home-like environment, and making sure that our residents are safe.
Physicians rely on bone mineral density testing as an important tool in assessing the risks for, and management of, the bone disease called osteoporosis. Although there are no guidelines for the frequency of repeating bone density tests, Medicare pays for screening every two years —without limiting the number of repeat tests, and regardless of the results of the patient's initial (or baseline) bone density scan.
Falls can be scary business, especially when you consider the following statistics; each year, more than one-third of Americans over the age of 65 suffer a fall, resulting in roughly 13,700 deaths. Falls can also result in hip fractures– a common injury when you are older and one that usually requires surgical repair, replacement and intensive physical therapy.
Let’s face it – winters can be tough. Months of frigid temperatures and heavy snow fall can make daily life difficult and isolation at home even more common for seniors. You can, however, safely maneuver through winter weather by realizing the high risk for falls during icy and snowy conditions and taking proper precautions.
There are plenty of genetic traits that we can thank our parents for—could weak bones be one of them?
My fellow researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife (IFAR) believe they’ve discovered links between 56 different genetics variants and subsequent bone loss.
After examining a wide scope of osteoporosis studies as part of the largest analysis of genome-studies ever conducted, our researchers were able to pinpoint 56 different genetic variants that negatively affect bone mineral density (BMD).