Finding out the reason for her broken hip is a good first
step. Your mother is likely to have osteoporosis. If she has never had a bone
density test, it is important that she have one. This is the only way to
diagnose osteoporosis. If she has osteoporosis, she needs to talk with her
healthcare provider about taking an osteoporosis medication that is right for
her. Taking an osteoporosis medicine can help reduce her chance of having
another broken bone and prevent bone loss.
One medicine has been specifically tested in patients who
have recently broken a hip. This medicine is zoledronic acid (Reclast®). It can
reduce the risk of more broken bones and even extend the life of women and men
who have broken a hip due to osteoporosis.
Your mother also needs to get 1,200 mg of calcium and
800-1,000 IU of vitamin D every day. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D are
important to help keep her bones strong and healthy. Vitamin D not only helps
absorb calcium, it plays a role in muscle strength and balance and may help
reduce the risk of falling.
If your mother needs to take an osteoporosis medication,
it’s still important that she get enough calcium and vitamin D every day. Many
older patients are at high risk for not getting enough vitamin D. There is a
possibility she might need more vitamin D than the recommended amount above.
One way to find out is with a simple blood test of her 25-hydroxyvitamin D
level. It is also important for her not to smoke or drink too much alcohol.
Smoking and having three or more alcoholic drinks a day are not good for
Rehabilitation and a slow return to exercise are important
after breaking a bone, especially a hip bone. At first, walking may be
difficult. For this reason, many patients are transferred from a hospital to a
rehabilitation facility. A good rehabilitation center has staff specially
trained to help your mother become stronger and more active every day. She may
start out using a walker to move herself a few steps, but slowly her balance
and strength will improve. Then she will likely use a cane for a while.
Sometimes this is not easy, as she may have some pain, discomfort and feel
tired. She may need to continue physical therapy once she returns home, and
that too is important for her recovery.
Before your mother returns home, you may wish to check her
home to make sure it is fall-proof. A few basic home safety tips include:
- Remove all clutter from the floors including loose
throw rugs, long electrical cords and phone cords.
- Install grab bars on bathroom walls beside tubs,
showers and toilets.
- Use 100 watt bulbs in place of low level
- Add night lights in the bedroom, hall and
- Make sure your mother wears supportive,
low-heeled shoes even at home. She should not walk around in socks, stockings
or scuffs. And she should not wear backless shoes or slippers.
- Consider subscribing to an at-home monitoring
- Use a portable phone in the home. It’s easy to
take from room to room. It prevents rushing for the phone when it rings, and
it’s handy if there’s a need to call for help.
- Review all medications with her doctor as some
can cause dizziness and increase the chance of falling.
Have your mother talk to her doctor about seeing a physical
therapist to check her balance. Balance problems can cause a person to fall.
Certain exercises help many people improve their balance. A physical therapist
can teach her these exercises. Physical therapy can have many other benefits
including improved muscle strength and posture.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
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