What Injuries Commonly Occur in the Elderly?

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The aging process commonly causes a decrease in balance, flexibility, and strength. Many older adults also live with various sensory impairments. The anatomical deficits make seniors more prone to accidents and subsequent injuries. Millions of older adults fall each year. Accidents in and around the home can cause a number of common injuries in the elderly.

Fractures

A senior’s bones are often thinner and more fragile than those of a younger adult. In the event of a fall, a senior may experience fractured ribs, hips, wrists, or spine. Very weak bones may fracture from bodyweight alone. Reducing the risk necessitates getting sufficient quantities of calcium and vitamin D. Seniors need 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Dairy products are the ideal means of getting calcium and vitamin D. Seniors might also want to consider having their blood levels checked for vitamin and mineral levels along with having a bone density test performed. Routine exercise also strengthens bones. On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are known to weaken bones.

There are several safety hazards around the home that put seniors at risk of injury. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional at-home care Richmond seniors can trust and rely on.

Head Trauma

Statistics indicate that 80,000 older adults experience traumatic brain injuries each year. The majority of these instances are caused by falls. A lack of physical strength along with slowed reaction time and reflexes prevent older adults from catching themselves to avoid serious injury. There are many ways to minimize the likelihood of a head injury occurring. Make sure all pathways are free from obstructions. Remove loose area rugs. Indoor and outdoor stairways require handrails. Install sufficient lighting throughout the home, as well as grab bars in the bathroom. Bathtubs and showers need non-slip surfaces and perhaps a shower chair. Make sure your loved one uses a cane or walker as recommended.

Wrist and Ankle Sprains

Getting older also often causes connective tissues over joints to wear and become inflexible, which increases the likelihood of a sprain. The injuries might occur secondary to a fall or by simply standing up. A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals keeps musculoskeletal tissues in optimal condition, as does routine exercise. In the event a sprain occurs, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help the body heal faster. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Burns

Burns are another leading cause of fatal home injuries. Fragile, thin skin doesn’t offer much protection to underlying tissues. Thus, if an older adult gets burned, the injury is more likely to be serious. A loss of balance, visual impairment, or sensory loss due to diabetes, infection, or other disease processes leaves seniors susceptible to possible burn injuries. Preventative measures may include lowering the temperature on water heaters. Have portable fire extinguishers readily available, and ensure your loved one knows how to use them. Plan an escape route in the event of a house fire. 

Even if you’re around some of the time to supervise your loved one and help him or her avoid accidents that could lead to injury, you can’t be there 24/7. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Richmond families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at Richmond (804) 741-0009 or Williamsburg (757) 220-3151 to schedule a free in-home consultation and find out how we can help.