Written by Brandon Leonard, MA, and Adam Bitterman, DO
Falls are the most common cause of a hip fracture among the elderly. Hip fractures can present a myriad of complications for a person both young and old. After suffering a hip fracture, lifestyle changes may include:
- alterations to medication regimens
- changes in mobility
- reduction of independent freedoms
As a result of these lifestyle adjustments, individuals with debilitating injuries may develop a sense of discouragement or depression. Once an individual has set foot into this gloomy realm, they may become despondent and disheartened toward their potential successes and recovery. Our focus of this article is to guide you toward preventing unnecessary falls and injuries and to refer you to the most important topics that you should discuss with your physician. A few simple modifications that you can make to your daily routine to prevent accidents around your home may save your life or the lives of those around you. As you age, your balance inevitably weakens. In order to improve your balance, be sure to wear rubber soled shoes or sneakers that support your foot and ankle. If you need the assistance of a walker or cane, use it! Many members of the geriatric population are concerned that "hardware" in the form of a cane or walker stigmatizes them as being "old". The reality is that "hardware" on the outside in the form of a cane or walker is much more reasonable than "hardware" in the form of surgically implanted pins and rods. Most importantly, respect your physical limitations. Establish yourself on a level residential ﬂoor plan. Stairs, stoops, ramps and other obstacles become unnecessary evils. If you have the option of bathing in a walk-in shower as opposed to a bathtub, which requires you to navigate over the bathtub wall into and out of a wet surface, it is best to make choices where you limit the potential for a fall. In the event that you are in need of emergency help, ﬁrst responders such as EMTs, Paramedics, Fire Fighters and/or Police will respond and take you to the closest and most appropriate hospital. It is important to have a comprehensive and detailed list of your daily medication regimen on hand for them. By having this information easily accessible and available, the ambulance crew can treat you appropriately and efficiently. The best place to keep your medication list(s) is on the refrigerator and to keep one with you at all times should you become ill or injured when you are not home. If we lived in a bubble, injuries and accidents would not occur. The reality is that accidents do happen. The best prevention is preparation.
Brandon Leonard, MA, is an Emergency Medical Technician certified in Critical Care. He works with the Nassau County Police Department in Long Island, New York and is the Senior Vice President - Emergency Services and Community Projects for JAMB Innovations. Adam Bitterman, DO is an Orthopedic Surgery Resident in Long Island. Dr. Bitterman is the CEO and co-founder of JAMB Innovations, a dynamic concierge mobile medical application development company. For more information, go to www.jambinnovations.com.