According to the National Institute on Aging, one in three seniors over the age of 65 falls each year. The increased risk of falling in the elderly may be due to a decrease in balance, eyesight, hearing, and reflexes that occurs due to age or a medical condition. Though some falls don’t result in serious injury, 50 percent of falls result in injuries that require medical attention. Be aware of these five injuries that could occur as a result of a fall, and seek medical attention for your senior loved one if a fall should occur.
1. Broken Bones
Approximately five percent of falls result in a fractured bone. Seniors who fall are at an increased risk of breaking a hip, rib, arm, or femur. Geriatric fractures are treated differently than fractures that occur in younger adults. When a senior falls, the injury often requires surgery, hospitalization, and physical therapy. If your loved one has osteoporosis, he or she is at an increased risk of breaking a bone when falling.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising are essential to maximizing bone strength, and a professional caregiver can be a fantastic resource if your loved one needs help with these activities. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elderly home care. Tucson families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
2. Traumatic Brain Injury
Hitting the head during a fall increases the risk of traumatic brain injury, which occurs when the impact of the fall is severe enough to disrupt normal brain function. If traumatic brain injury occurs, your loved one may lose consciousness, be unable to remember the fall that caused the brain injury, have difficulty speaking, be unsteady when walking, or experience frequent confusion.
After even a mild brain injury, recuperation can be especially challenging for seniors, particularly those with mobility limitations or other health conditions. Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Tucson live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.
Lacerations are deep cuts that require sutures to close. Seniors who hit an object or a hard surface when falling may experience cuts severe enough to need medical care. Lacerations can typically be taken care of on an outpatient basis but need follow-up care to ensure an infection isn’t present and to remove the sutures when the skin has healed.
4. Torn Ligaments
Ligaments are responsible for connecting bones to other bones and keeping joints stable. When a senior falls, a ligament may become torn, which frequently occurs in the ankle, knee, or wrist. If your loved one tears a ligament, the doctor will likely recommend resting, applying ice, elevating the injured area, and wearing compression braces when moving. Physical therapy may be necessary to increase range of motion after healing from a torn ligament.
5. Internal Organ Damage
Your loved one may fall severely enough to injure an internal organ. This type of injury most frequently occurs when seniors fall and injure the abdominal area. Seniors may rupture their spleen or gallbladder or harm their kidneys. If your loved one breaks a rib during a fall, his or her lungs may be injured. Internal organ damage typically requires surgery to repair the damaged organ and inpatient hospital care while recovering from the surgery and injury.
Since the consequences of falls can be so severe for seniors, reducing the risk of falling is essential, and prevention is key. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Tucson families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (520) 214-5440 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.