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Why Seniors Need to Know about Osteoporosis

Mar 31, 2016 by Luke Ries

Fall Prevention Tactics

Why Seniors Need to Know about Osteoporosis

Often called the ‘silent disease,’ osteoporosis usually has no symptoms until a fracture occurs. Fractures can lead to chronic pain, a loss of independence, disability, and even premature death, so managing bone health to avoid fractures should be a priority for seniors.

Osteoporosis causes bones to become brittle, leading to a higher risk of breaks than in normal bone. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them. This causes a loss of bone density or mass. As bones become thinner and less dense, even a minor bump or fall can cause a serious fracture, which can be a complete or partial break in a bone. Osteoporosis can affect any bone, but the most common sites are the hip, spine, and wrist. Fractures in the spine due to osteoporosis can result in height loss or changes in posture.

Fall Risk Reduction Tactics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.5 million seniors visit emergency departments because of fall injuries each year. Falls often break bones, so seniors with osteoporosis need to take special precautions to reduce fall risks. Yet, as we age, many factors make falls more likely. Those factors include declining vision and balance, and diseases or health issues that impede walking ability. Even medications, like sleeping pills, increase fall risks. So how can you lower the risk of falls both indoors and out?

  • Reduce clutter in rooms, especially on floors.
  • Choose flooring carefully. If needed, use rugs to improve grip on slippery surfaces, but avoid placing rugs where they might cause a trip hazard.
  • Make sure the rugs you do use have non-skid backs or are tacked down to the floor.
  • Make sure walkways, especially stairs, are well lit with adequate rails for balance.
  • Install grab bars on bathroom walls near both the tub/shower and toilet.
  • Use a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub.
  • Use a cane or walker if needed.
  • Avoid slippery sidewalks in the winter. When you must go outside, walk on the grass.

If your loved one has osteoporosis, and has suffered a broken bone, Comfort Keepers® can provide assistance with activities of daily living during his or her recovery, and with maintaining a safe environment to reduce fall risks in the future. Contact us at the Comfort Keepers of Sheboygan and Fon du Lac or call us (920-843-5858) to learn more. 

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