Caring for an elderly parent can be challenging. From the emotional distress that comes along with watching them age to the financial burden of providing them with 24-hour assistance, caring for an elderly parent is overwhelming for most people. An estimated 1/3rd of Americans who are 65 years of age and older fall each year, so it is important to understand how to prevent injury and care for your parent after a fall. Unfortunately, a large portion of these falls result in a fractured hip. With this guide, you will not only understand how your elderly parent will need to recover from a hip fracture, but also how to prevent falls that could lead to this dangerous injury.

Understanding and Treating Hip Fractures

When your parent falls and fractures their hip, they will experience intense pain that begins at the fracture site. This pain will radiate up and down the body, increasing your parent's discomfort. In most cases, your parent will be unable to move after the injury, so immediate medical care will be imperative.

Doctors will first determine the location of the fracture using x-ray technology. Most hip fractures occur in one of the following areas:

  • Femoral Neck – The femoral neck is located in the upper portion of the femur. It is the area that rests below the ball part of the ball-and-socket joint.
  • Intertrochanteric Region – The intertrochanteric region is the area of the upper femur that protrudes slightly outward.

Treating your elderly parent's injury will depend on the actual location of the fracture.

A partial hip replacement is a common option for elderly parents. During this procedure, surgeons will remove the head and the neck of the femur before replacing these parts with a metal  prostheses.

If your parent has suffered with arthritis or another injury that has damaged the joint, a total hip replacement may be necessary. A total hip replacement involves replacing the upper femur and the socket in the hip joint with a metal prostheses.

No matter which surgical option your parent's surgeon recommends, ample recovery and rehabilitation time will be essential.

Your parent should get out of the bed and walk a little the day after surgery. Of course, a physical therapist will work with them each time they walk to increase their distance and speed over the course of their recovery.

Your elderly parent may benefit from moving from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility like The Village At Morrisons Cove. These facilities help your elderly parent recover in a safe, efficient, and effective manner after their hip replacement surgery.

Preventing Future Falls and Hip Fractures

While shocking for many individuals to learn, 20 percent of people who fracture their hip will have another hip fracture within 2 years. Due to the risk of future falls and fracture, learning how to prevent future falls and fractures is smart.

If your elderly parent lives with you, spend some time making your home safe. However, if your parent lives alone, you should prepare their home to prevent falls, as well.

Remove throw rugs from the home, since these are not usually secured to the floor. Also, install safety bars in the bathrooms. Make sure a safety bar is located inside and outside the tub and shower. There should be a safety bar installed on the wall next to the toilet, as well. Place rubber grips on the bottom of the tub and shower floor to reduce the risk of your parent slipping and falling.

If there are any stairs in the home, make sure handrails are intact and durable. The stair surfaces should have sufficient treads to prevent slipping.

Exercise is also important for reducing the risk of falls that could lead to fractures. Light walking, swimming, and yoga are low-impact exercises that can strengthen your parent's muscles, bones, and joints while increasing their endurance, flexibility, and balance.

Hip fractures are serious injuries that require a good amount of recovery. With this guide, you can understand, treat, and prevent your elderly parent's hip fracture.