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Four Common Injuries That Occur When Seniors Fall Down

By Ketan Shah

When a senior citizen falls, the resulting injuries can be debilitating. The CDC reports that 20 percent of falls lead to severe injuries. When an adult over the age of 64 falls, there are four injuries that often occur. As many as 2.8 million men and women are treated for their injuries. Here are the four common injuries.

Bone Fractures

Some elderly men and women have weaker bones due to osteoporosis. This makes it easier to fracture a bone during a fall. Hip fractures are the most common fracture following a fall. In fact, more than 300,000 senior citizens enter the hospital because they fractured their hip during a fall.

A broken collarbone, leg, arm, wrist, or ankle are also possible fractures. With any broken bone, mobility and daily activities of living will be impaired. A broken arm or collarbone require a cast and an arm to remain in a stationary position. A broken leg or ankle require crutches or a wheelchair in order to get around.

Dislocations

If a bone doesn't break during a fall, there's a chance the patient's bone pushed out of its joint. Dislocations are also common after a fall. This can lead to torn ligaments and tendons that require surgery to repair.

After a surgery, the elderly need time to rest their arm or leg. They need time to let their body heal. They'll find it impossible to drive themselves to followup appointments. Some may struggle to remember when to take medications.

Head Injuries

If a senior hit his or her head during a fall, it can be devastating. Brain bleeds, swelling, and fractures are all possibilities. In some cases, surgery may be a requirement to reduce pressure on the brain. Even if the resulting injury is only a concussion, there's still need for around-the-clock monitoring to watch for dizziness.

In 2012, the Current Translational Geriatrics and Experimental Gerontology Reports reported fatality rates following severe brain trauma are as high as 55 percent in men and women 65 or older. With immediate and proper care for head injuries, those rates can drop to as low as 20 percent. It's important that seniors get help immediately after a fall.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Johns Hopkins defines soft tissue injuries as “damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.” These injuries can be as minor as bruising to something a little more complex like a sprain. While these are easier to recover from, it still requires routine care instructions known as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). It may be hard for a senior to follow these instructions when living alone.

After a fall, it is critical that a senior have supportive care services. Home care ensures family members don't have to take unpaid time off or adjust schedules to meet a parent's care needs. Call a home care agency to discuss post-fall care services.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758513/
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/orthopaedic_disorders/soft-tissue_injuries_85,P00942

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home care services in Los Gatos, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.