Why can hip fractures be so devastating for seniors?

Among the most serious injuries an older person can suffer in a fall is a hip fracture. Seniors are more likely to suffer fractures of all kinds in a fall, car crash or any type of accident because their bones are generally less dense and, thus, more fragile than those of younger people.

Loss of bone density, or osteoporosis, is more common in women than in men as they age. However, it affects both and women. Even a “same-level” fall can cause a fracture. Hip fractures are more likely to occur when someone falls sideways. A hip fracture usually requires surgery followed by stay in a rehabilitation facility as patients begin to regain mobility. Once they’re home, they’ll likely need a mobility aid for a time as they continue physical therapy.

Why do hip fractures lead to an increased risk of death?

Studies of older people with hip fractures have brought some very disturbing statistics. For example, seniors have up to eight times higher rate of death within the first three months after breaking a hip that those who didn’t. Further, one in three people over 50 who break a hip die within a year. A higher risk of death remains for as long as a decade.

It’s not that people die from a broken hip. However, a hip fracture is often the most serious and debilitating injury someone’s ever suffered. It leaves even active people with decreased mobility as they heal and recover. Having to rely on people for help with everyday chores can be depressing. Fear of falling again can keep people in their homes and, even there, less active. They feel their age (and then some) for the first time. They may spend more time alone. All of this can lead to greater physical as well as mental decline.

A hip fracture certainly shouldn’t be a death sentence. Having a regular, challenging physical therapy program can make a big difference. So can having a solid support system of family and friends. At home health care aid can provide company and help with things around the house to lessen the chances of re-injury.

Certainly, treatment and rehabilitation for a hip fracture can come at a steep cost. Whether an injury was caused by a property owner’s negligence, an at-fault driver or was suffered at work, it’s crucial to get necessary compensation to cover these and other expenses and damages.

FindLaw Network

View All
Practice areas