Nearly 30 percent of seniors over the age of 65 fall at least once a year. In addition to impacting a senior’s physical health, these accidents can also take a toll on their mental and emotional health. Here is a closer look at eight of the most common fall-related injuries in the elderly.
1. Broken Hips
According to the CDC, hip fractures are the most common fall-related injury among the elderly. Many different medical issues can increase a senior’s risk of hip fractures, including osteoporosis, poor nutrition, and arthritis. To strengthen weaker bones, seniors should stick to a healthy diet, supplement with calcium, and exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.
Fall-related injuries can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, families can rely on professional caregivers to keep their loved ones safe. When considering home care, Birmingham, AL, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.
2. Limb Fractures
These types of fractures generally take place when seniors reach out to catch themselves after they have already started falling. While healthy younger adults can recover from limb fractures in just a few weeks, seniors might develop permanent mobility issues after breaking a bone. Installing grab bars around your loved one’s home will provide something solid to hold onto if he or she begins to lose balance.
3. Mild TBIs
Bumps, bruises, and concussions are typically classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). For most of these injuries, nothing can be done to speed up the healing process other than giving the senior plenty of time to rest. However, you must schedule a brain scan if your loved one hits his or her head to make sure no permanent damage has taken place.
4. Severe TBIs
Severe traumatic brain injuries are extremely common, and they can be deadly if they aren’t treated immediately. Brain hemorrhages, skull fractures, and hematomas are all examples of severe TBIs. Anyone who has a severe TBI must be immobilized until a doctor or paramedic can safely move him or her.
5. Torn Ligaments
Torn ligaments often take place when seniors reach out to catch themselves while they are falling. An older adult can easily tear a ligament after tripping over clutter or slipping in a puddle of water. Very little can be done to treat torn ligaments other than immobilizing the area.
As long as the cut isn’t too deep, most lacerations look much worse than they really are. Seniors who have difficulty with balance should keep glass items and other sharp objects off their counters, tables, and desks. Even though most lacerations are superficial, these wounds still need to be inspected and cleaned by a medical professional.
7. Spinal Cord Damage
The human spine is incredibly resilient, but it can still become damaged after being compressed or twisted. As a general rule, injuries that are higher up on the spine tend to be more severe. Spinal cord injuries should only be treated by a specialist, and most doctors will suggest getting a second opinion before any procedures are carried out.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your senior loved one needs help while recovering from an injury. Birmingham respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
8. Bruised Soft Tissue
When it comes to fall-related injuries, soft tissue bruises are relatively benign. Seniors might bruise their skin when they knock against items in their home or land on their knees as they fall. You only need to schedule an appointment with your loved one’s doctor if the bruises last for more than a week.
Fall-related injuries can make your loved one susceptible to long-term health conditions. Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Birmingham live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call us at (205) 438-6927 to hire a dedicated caregiver for your elderly loved one.