Every year, more than 300,000 senior citizens over the age of 65 are hospitalized to receive care for a hip fracture.
A broken hip is a serious injury for people of any age, but seniors, in particular, face additional obstacles when it comes to recovering from these fractures.
If you or a loved one have recently experienced a hip fracture, read on to learn what you can do to help ensure a successful recovery.
1. Exercise Daily
Surprisingly, regular exercise is encouraged for people who are recovering from a hip fracture. Research actually shows that, compared to patients who did nothing after breaking their hip, those who participated in an exercise program saw significantly better results.
Weight-bearing exercises like walking and stair climbing help stimulate the bone to begin healing. Functional exercises — which mimic activities people do in their daily lives — are also beneficial. Examples of these types of exercises include:
Standing up from a chair
Lifting and carrying grocery bags
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
In addition to exercising regularly, it’s also important for seniors who are recovering from a broken hip to make sure their diet is balanced and filled with nutrients that encourage healing.
When recovering from a broken hip — or any kind of injury, for that matter — it’s important to consume a diet rich in the following types of food:
Protein: Sufficient protein intake is essential for building up the muscles and supporting recovery. Good sources include meat, fish, full-fat dairy, legumes, beans, and soy products.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones. Get vitamin D from daily sunlight exposure and from foods like full-fat dairy, egg yolks, and fatty fish.
Calcium: Calcium and vitamin D work together to promote strong, healthy bones. Get calcium from full-fat dairy, leafy greens, broccoli, almonds, and sardines.
Magnesium: Magnesium helps regulate hormones that promote bone preservation and bone breakdown. Good sources of magnesium include dark chocolate, leafy greens, fatty fish, and nuts and seeds.
3. Socialize Regularly
When you’re recovering from a broken hip, it’s easy to feel isolated. Isolation, in turn, often breeds feelings of depression and anxiety, neither of which are good for people who are trying to heal.
To foster a healing environment, make an effort to socialize regularly. Arrange for friends and family members to come visit you, or, when you feel up to it, try to get out and visit them.
Regular socialization can help encourage you to care for yourself and take your recovery seriously, so be sure to include it in your life on a consistent basis.
4. Invest in Assistive Tools
While you’re going through the recovery process, there are a number of tools you can invest in that will make your life easier and improve your ability to live independently. Some of the best tools to purchase for yourself or a loved one include:
Extra long shoe horns to assist with dressing
Long-handled sponges and bath benches to simplify bathing and showering
Raised toilet seats and grab bars (to be installed by the toilet) for assistance while going to the bathroom
Leg lifter straps to make getting into bed easier
5. Quit Smoking
Finally, if you or your loved one is a smoker, make a concentrated effort to give it up. Smoking prolongs the healing process because it hinders healthy blood flow, which negatively affects your body’s ability to heal the fracture.
Preventing Hip Fractures
Approximately one in seven adults who experience a hip fracture will experience another one at some point in their lives.
The following steps can prevent repeat fractures:
Improving lighting so that it’s not too dim or direct
Tacking down carpets and rugs
Rearranging kitchen items so they’re easy to reach
Installing handrails in stairways
Regular exercise also helps seniors maintain muscle mass and strength to prevent future fractures.
For many seniors, a broken hip leads to a downward spiral of other health and mobility problems. That doesn’t have to be the case for you or your loved one, though. If you keep these recovery and prevention tips in mind, you’ll feel more like your old self in no time.