Managing Hip Fractures with Aging Loved Ones

May 16, 2022

Managing-Hip-Fractures-With-Elderly-Loved-Ones-Blog_Image_1200x628.jpgHip fractures are a common occurrence among the elderly, with approximately 300,000 cases reported in the United States every year. They are most often caused by falls and can lead to a number of serious health complications, including death. Treatment for hip fractures typically involves surgery followed by a period of rehabilitation. However, not all hip fractures require surgery, and it is possible to make a full recovery with proper treatment. 

Be Informed, Prevent a Fracture 

Preventing hip fractures among older adults is a key concern, as these injuries can often lead to long-term disability or death. There are a number of ways to help reduce the risk of hip fractures, including: 

  • Ensuring your aging loved one is adequately screened for risk factors. This includes assessing for things like low bone density, poor vision and balance, and history of falls. 

  • Encouraging exercise and physical activity. Activities like walking, dancing, and climbing stairs can help improve balance and strength, reducing the risk of falls. 

  • Promoting good nutrition. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D can help keep bones healthy and strong. 

  • Providing adequate support. Assisting loved ones with tasks like dressing, bathing, and using the toilet can help reduce the risk of falls. 

  • Using safety devices. Installing grab bars in bathrooms and using nonskid mats in the shower can help keep seniors safe when they are bathing or showering. 

  • Taking precautions when medications are prescribed. Some medications, like anticoagulants, can increase the risk of falls. Close monitoring by a doctor can help ensure that the risk is minimized. 

  • Make your loved one’s living environment safer. Help prevent a fall by moving items that your loved one could trip over such as rugs. Install brighter light bulbs to ensure adequate visibility when they are indoors. Or add nightlights and handrails to areas that are frequently walked in. 

  • Address foot pain or inadequate footwear. Falls are often a result of foot issues or poor footwear that causes an individual to go down. Address these issues to help prevent a hip-breaking fall. 

  • Planning for emergencies. Having a plan in place for how to handle a fall or other emergency can help minimize the consequences if one does occur. 

It is important to note that not all hip fractures can be prevented, but by taking these steps, the risk can be reduced significantly. 

Hip Fracture Symptoms to Watch Out For 

Hip fracture symptoms can range from obvious to subtle, but the most common include: 

  • Sudden severe pain in the hip, lower back, or groin area 

  • Inability to move the hip or leg 

  • Inability to put weight on the injured side 

  • A change in gait 

  • Numbness or tingling in the leg or foot 

  • Swelling in the hip or groin area 

  • Bruising or swelling around the hip 

  • Shortening of one leg 

  • Fever 

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Some hip fractures are surgical cases, but some, when caught early, can be handled with rest and physical therapy. 

Hip Fracture Recovery 

When a loved one experiences a hip fracture, it can be difficult to know how to best manage the situation. Often, aging individuals are unable to take care of themselves and may need assistance with all aspects of their recovery. This can be challenging for family members who are already juggling numerous other responsibilities.  

Make Plans for a Long Recovery 

Caregivers need to set realistic expectations on the healing time for a hip injury in an aging adult. Healing recovery times can range anywhere from four weeks to six months depending on the severity of the injury. You will need to make long-term arrangements for hip rehabilitation and post-injury care.  

Complications that Often Attend Hip Injuries 

Immobility goes hand-in-hand with a hip injury which can lead to dangerous blood clots, bedsores, and urinary tract infections. In addition, inactivity leads to a loss of muscle mass which can put your loved one at risk for another fall once they are up and moving again.  

It is important that you understand the risks associated with hip injuries so you can do what you can to help prevent them. Helping your loved one preserve muscle mass and prevent clots can be done with certain prescribed therapy methods and tools. Talk to your doctor or consider adding a professional in-home caregiver to your recovery team to help. 

Call in the Troops 

When a loved one is recovering from a hip fracture, be sure to enlist the help of friends and family members who can assist with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and providing transportation. You can also look into hiring a professional home care service to help with basic needs like bathing and grooming.  

Keep the Energy Positive 

It is also important to stay positive and upbeat around your loved one. This will help them maintain their spirits and stay motivated throughout the healing process. Openly communicate updates on their progress. This will help ensure that they feel supported and cared for during this difficult time. 

What Happens After Hip Rehabilitation? 

Unfortunately, studies show that most older adults—more than half—don’t fully recover after a hip injury. This means that the level of physical activity and independence your loved one once enjoyed may be seriously overhauled after the hip fracture. Helping your loved one come to terms with their new limitations can be a challenging process, but a necessary one to avoid further falls or injury.  

Why Choose Professional Home Care After a Hip Fracture? 

A hip fracture is a serious injury that can impact an individual's mobility and independence. After a hip fracture, many individuals require professional home care in order to recover safely and comfortably. There are several advantages of receiving home care assistance after a hip fracture. Professional home care can: 

  • Help improve an individual's mobility with exercises and therapies 

  • Provide transportation to and from medical appointments 

  • Improve an individual's quality of life by making sure that they are comfortable and safe in their own home. They can also assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.  

  • Reduce the risk of complications by monitoring an individual's health closely and reporting any changes or concerns to a doctor. They can also help ensure that the individual follows their doctor's orders for recovery, which can help reduce the risk of complications. 

If you are caring for an aging loved one who has had a hip fracture, consider seeking professional home care services from BrightStar Care. It can make a world of difference for your loved one’s recovery.  

Contact BrightStar Care today to discuss all the advantages of professional home care for your loved one following a hip fracture. Your local team of care professionals are ready to help.