As we age, the risk of falling as well as bone fractures increases substantially and patients with dementia are three times more likely to suffer from a fall and subsequent bone fractures than those who are cognitively-aware.
Let’s stay together…
Apart from normal ageing and cognitive decline, there are other factors that can also contribute to the increased risk of falling. These include decreased bone density and muscle mass, impaired movement, nutritional deficiencies, mental health status (depression and anxiety), certain medications, smoking, faulty footwear and walking aids, and vision problems.
However, now it turns out that being married can help REDUCE your risk of falling and dangerous fractures by between 30 and 50 per cent.
According to a new study, led by Elena Lobo of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Zaragoza in Spain, elderly men are 50 per cent less likely to fracture a hip if they are married, while elderly married women cut their risk by 30 per cent.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, head of the Geriatrics Department at University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, said that a possible reason for this reduced risk is that elderly patients who still live with their partner are less likely to be malnourished or depressed, making them less frail and less likely to suffer a fall.
Dr. Boschoff-Ferrari added that elderly people living with someone have the type of familial support that will help prevent them from falling in the first place. Additional measures like consuming foods rich in calcium and protein (which help to prevent bone and muscle mass loss), regular exercise and a daily vitamin D supplement can further help reduce the risk of falling by as much as 30 per cent.
Previous studies have found that living alone or being secluded and isolated are risk factors for falls.
Considering that in the UK we are dealing with an ageing population this is something to be aware of for family members and loved ones who are taking care of an elderly person who is living on their own. It also makes for a strong argument to build and maintain strong community bonds well into your old age.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
How MARRIAGE can save you from hip fractures: Couples are half as likely to break bones in old age than singletons, published online 09.01.17, dailymail.co.uk