When I was growing up and I'd hear that an older person had had a fall, the adults around me would say things like "oh, it's the beginning of the end then..." or "they'll never recover..." and I would wonder why.
It did seem, somehow, that a broken hip or leg seemed to end up with the elderly victim being permanently placed in nursing care or ultimately dying within a year. I knew that older people recovered more slowly but it did always seem that that broken hip lead down a very sickly path.
Today I read a little about why older people not only have a hard time getting back to normal after a fall, but how other major concerns also surface. Some may not even tell anyone they fell, and suffer in silence, fearing that their families or doctors will admit them to nursing homes or treat them like invalids.
Once treated, many go on to suffer other serious ailments like pneumonia, bedsores, weakened muscles or further falls. Patients who do not receive adequate physical therapy lose weight and strength and spend more time in bed that they should.
Increased medications don’t help either. Some can have adverse effects and cause a person to suffer other side issues from nausea to fatigue.
Doctors realize that depression due to a fall is just as likely to cause a person to become less able, than the fall itself. Patients can become more socially isolated and stop going to weekly clubs, groups and church. Lack of socialization is a key factor in preventing a person from getting better.
All is not lost! Older patients and their families need to be aware of the trauma that a fall can cause; trauma that may have nothing to do with the actual fall. Keeping strong social ties is crucial, as is talking to doctors regarding the necessity of all medications being taken and possible negative reactions.
Suffering a fall does not have to be the ‘beginning of the end’ for anyone. Good medical care, physical therapy, a nutritious diet, a positive attitude and support from friends and family can ensure that elderly victims of a fall can get back to having as independent a life as possible.
For more on this story, click here : http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/08/us/08falls.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=health
Colorado State University provides some great tips on how to recover from a fall, and how to work to prevent them: www.ext.colostate.edu/Pubs/consumer/10242.html
Have you or someone you know suffered a fall? What were the consequences? If you or someone you know are elderly, was it harder to recover?
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.