A study at Northwest University took a look at the impact of wrist fractures on elderly women and found some not necessarily surprising results. Over 6,000 women over the age of 65 were involved in the study. None of the women had ever had a wrist or hip fracture, both of which commonly happen during falls.
The women were studied based on their ability to function and do things like climb stairs, clean house, prepare meals, get in and out of cars and shop on their own.
The Women were then examined every two years for seven and a half years and a weird trend seemed to take place. Â The researchers found that those who had experienced wrist fractures were fifty percent more likely to suffer a disability later on down the road than those who had not suffered a fracture at all. Â Note that this study did take into effect such things as life styles and demographics into account of the participants studied.
While the study might not contain some interesting statistics, it does emphasize the need to prevent falls in the home as much as possible. Elderly people, and their caregivers if they have them, need to be very aware of fall risks like steps, thresholds, loose rugs, clutter and anything that could cause a fall.
- Sleeping Pills and Fracture Risk in Nursing Homes: Â here
- X-ray Imaging Sheds New Light on Bone Damage: Â click here
It’s also important for someone who has had a wrist fracture to view the study in the proper light and not be discouraged thinking that it means there’s double the chance of becoming disabled. The most likely conclusion to take away is that a person with a broken wrist is more likely to end up with a disability because they fell while others didn’t and not because of the broken wrist itself.
Someone who falls and is injured probably has other risk factors such as balance issues, unclear paths in the home, nothing to grab onto in the case of dizziness or other hazards that can cause more falls and lead to a greater number of injuries. If you fit into that group, taking steps to prevent future accidents can go a long way toward reducing the chance of life-changing disability in the future.
At minimum, there are some very inexpensive and simple steps to take to help prevent falls. Wheelchair ramps can be used for someone in a manual or a power chair to eliminate the need to use most steps. Stair lifts are ideal for use on staircases, as well. Threshold ramps eliminate those little elevations that are easy to trip on. And the installation of grab bars in places like the bathtub, near the bed and around the toilet can help someone who has difficulty stepping up and down or rising from a seated position.
Work to find the danger spots and provide solutions to lower the risk of falls and to lessen the chance of any long-term disability.