How to Ensure Loved Ones Are Safe From Broken Bones
Written by Jeff Meyer on June 12, 2015
Bone fractures are some of the most serious injuries that a person can experience. They can be excruciatingly painful, are debilitating, and if not treated in an effective and timely manner, can cause lifelong problems for those who have them if they heal poorly. Bone breaks can also leave an injured person more prone to dangerous—even lethal—infections, and can lead to lifelong disability when ignored or left to heal on their own. People residing in assisted living facilities may experience broken bones as a result of nursing home abuse.
Broken Bones Are a Serious Concern at Any Age
Bones are the bedrock of the human body, and act as the foundation for the rest of the body parts. When a bone is broken, it can have an impact on the entire body: a broken leg, even when set and casted, can mean using crutches, which involves using other body parts and the unbroken leg to compensate for the loss of function of the broken leg while it heals. A broken finger is more than just loss of the function of one digit—it limits the function of the entire hand.
Elderly People Are Particularly Vulnerable to Broken Bones
As people age, their bones often become more brittle. Elderly females in particular are prone to bone loss, and osteoporotic bones, like the bones of a bird, become full of pits and holes, rendering them very fragile. This means that senior citizens, and senior women in particular, are vulnerable to broken bones under even the best of circumstances. In cases where an elderly person becomes the victim of nursing home abuse, bones fractures are tragically common.
How to Fortify Bone Health in the Elderly
The benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplementation for improved bone health are well documented and widely known. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that senior citizens taking high doses of vitamin D experienced fewer hip fractures than their peers who took lower doses of the vitamin or did not use supplements at all (2012). Another study published in Nutrition Reviews showed that bone health can be fortified via vitamins B, C and E, and that potassium also plays a role in maintaining healthy bones. By taking supplements of these vitamins and minerals on a regular basis, seniors can take proactive steps toward maintaining bone health well into their twilight years.
The Impact of Broken Bones on Overall Health
Wellness depends on a number of factors, including mental and physical health. It’s no surprise, then, that a broken bone can have a major impact on both physical and psychological well-being, especially if that bone fracture is a result of nursing home abuse. The suffering goes beyond the physical—emotional health is affected by physical pain, too. Many nursing home residents who are abused remain silent in their suffering, feeling ashamed of what they have experienced. Others may keep quiet out of a concern for their loved ones, figuring that telling their families about their abusive situation would only cause worry and be a burden to those they care about.
If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you think someone you know is being harmed by the staff members of the nursing facility he or she resides in, take action. Contact Adult Protective Services in their area and file an abuse report, then take steps to intervene and remove your loved one from the harmful environment he or she is living in. You may also wish to consult a legal professional to find out what recourse your loved one may be entitled to under state and federal law.