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Why is it harder to recover from a broken bone later in life?

Getting the call that your elderly loved one has fallen can be heartbreaking. We all know how dangerous it is for senior citizens to lose their footing.

One of the reasons that these falls are so serious is that they have very long recovery periods. You should know why that is—and whether there is anything you can do about it.

Most senior citizens with broken hips don’t fully heal

One study shows that only a small percentage of older people fully recover from a broken hip. Researchers found that only 31% of the seniors get back to the level of activity they were at before their injury.

Older bodies may be frail already, and many elderly people will start to have trouble with daily activities even without broken bones. On top of this, older people tend to recovery more slowly from injuries. It is no surprise that fractured bones slow older people down significantly.

Some ways to reduce the chance of fractures

The chance of your loved one falling will always be present. But you can help lower the chance and keep their body strong in the event that they do fall. You should:

  • Encourage them to exercise more—even just walking is beneficial
  • Help them change to a healthy, bone-enriching diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Eliminate common causes of falls in the home—including cords and furniture that can be tripped over
  • Make sure they are aware of any medications they take that may cause dizziness

Knowing what situations might lead to a fall could help your loved one avoid them. Stronger bodies are not only more resistant to broken bones—they help them heal as well.

What to do if your loved one breaks a bone

Even though it might take a long time to get back to their original level of activity, your injured loved one still can take action to improve their recovery. You can help them:

  • Get medical attention immediately
  • Participate in physical therapy, if appropriate
  • Keep eating a vitamin-rich diet
  • Stop smoking if they currently do—it delays bone healing

Plenty of senior citizens do make full recoveries. You can help your loved one become just as active as they were previously.

Falls that lead to hip fractures and other injuries can happen in stores, outdoor areas or even other people’s homes. If your loved one suffers an injury from a fall on someone else’s property, they may be entitled to financial compensation.

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