All kidding aside, this is EXACTLY what can happen if your aging parent breaks a hip.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that breaking (sometimes called “fracturing”) a hip is serious business. As many as 1 in 4 older adults (25%) require a nursing home-level of care following a hip fracture and 1 in 5 people (20%) die within a year of breaking a hip.
To be clear, we’re not just talking about mom or dad being unable to live independently for up to a year after a breaking a hip; in some cases we’re talking about death.
15 Sure-Fire Ways to Help a Parent Break a Hip
(Tongue in cheek, of course!)
1. Arrange the furniture in your aging parents’ home so that it looks and feels like an obstacle course.
You know – make it hard to walk through rooms in straight paths. Make certain that there’s plenty of chairs and tables to trip over.
2. On your next trip to Target, stock up on throw rugs and lay them down everywhere.
Especially in transitional spaces like hallways and door openings so visitors old and young will slips and slide…
3. Encourage clutter.
Instead of recycling papers, books, and magazines, encourage your aging parent to pile up these items on the floor.
And while he/she is at it, why not pile up other items that don’t have a place like stray blankets and boxes? The more clutter the better.
4. Don’t tuck wires and cords behind furniture or tape them to walls…
That would be silly! The better thing to do is to plug lamps and telephones into outlets far from where they’ll be used so that your aging parent needs to walk over them to get to where he/she is going. Which leads me to #5…
5. Make sure all hallways – and any room in which your aging parent spends significant time - are dimly lit.
After all what is light good for anyway? I’m sure mom and dad can see just fine in the dark. Only wusses need extra light to guide their path through a maze of furniture, cords and throw rugs.
6. Don’t fix the loose handrails on stairs.
What’s the point? Your aging parent doesn’t need to hold onto anything to get from one landing to another safely…
7. Put all frequently used kitchen items on the highest shelves possible.
And I mean put them really high…like so high that mom or dad needs a step ladder to get to them.
And while you’re at it, make sure that step ladder is unsteady…
8. Keep floors in the bathroom and kitchen wet and therefore, slippery.
Did you hear that? No need to have any absorbent material around in these areas. Wet feet on bathroom floors is an EXCELLENT idea.
9. Don’t install grab bars or any other supportive item to assist mom/dad to get in and out of the shower and/or up from the toilet.
No way. Instead, make them grasp for something (anything!) to steady their weight. I hear it builds character.
10. Don’t encourage mom or dad to review his/her medications with the doctor during the next visit.
This is especially important for those of you with aging parents who take multiple medications.
There’s no way – I repeat, no WAY – that any of those prescription drugs are interfering with one another and causing mom or dad to feel dizzy thus increasing the likelihood of a fall. Not a chance.
11. Avoid having mom or dad’s eyesight checked for conditions that might increase the risk of falls.
You know – so you don’t uncover things like cataracts and/or macular degeneration, etc. And whatever you do, don’t go getting mom or dad a stronger eye glass prescription if this is what the opthamologist recommends. Complete waste of money!
12. Forget all about a bone density screening during mom’s next check-up.
After all, 90% of fractured hips are due to falling so there’s no need to worry about the other 10% that can occur as the result of poor bone strength and other conditions.
And who cares about the fact that Vitamin D and Calcium supplements may improve bone strength?
13. Don’t ever encourage your aging parent to learn exercises to prevent falls.
What’s the point really? There is absolutely no need to know the one exercise that older adults should be doing every day before getting out of bed.
14. When in a seated position, teach mom/dad how to get up as fast as possible and get moving.
This will ensure that all the blood rushes to their heads and causes dizziness.
And last but certainly not least…
15. Throw out all flat, rubber-soled shoes and buy mom some uncomfortable heels or loose-fitting sandals to wear around the house.
No foot pain, no fall gain is what I always say.
And never let your aging parent opt for velcro instead of laces. No one has ever tripped because of untied laces or twisted an ankle that lead to a fall. It just doesn’t happen.