For thirty years, the incidence of hip fractures in older adults had been in decline. That is, until recently. Since 2012, that number has hit a plateau, which is very concerning to Dr. Douglas P. Kiel, Director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research. According to Dr. Kiel, “By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture is projected to increase by 310% in men and 240% in women compared to rates in 1990.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
As a staff geriatrician for Hebrew SeniorLife, I regularly see injuries from falls during winter months and urge patients to be extra vigilant when outdoors during the winter season. Fractured ankles and broken hips (especially for those over 50) are two of the most common injuries and can mean lengthy, frustrating recovery periods for seniors.