Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Saturday at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

2014 NATIONAL EVENT

Health & Wellness
AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

How to Survive a Hip Fracture

Hip fractures kill tens of thousands every year. Here's how to survive one

"A hip fracture is an insult to the system, and that changes many metabolic functions," adds Jay Magaziner, Ph.D., chair of the department of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and an expert on hip fractures. "There is something about this kind of injury that amplifies things."

You can, however, improve the odds of a good recovery. The first thing to do is repair the hip as soon as possible. A recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal finds that the risk of death from a hip fracture declined by 19 percent when surgery was performed within three days of the break.

Assuming reasonably good health at the time of the fracture, standard care consists of surgery within 48 hours, for a total of four to six days in the hospital, followed by two to six weeks in a subacute rehabilitation facility, with another three to four weeks of outpatient or home-based rehabilitation.

"It's not the fall, but the response to the fall." — Patti League, R.N.

Then the real work begins — a point lost on many who have endured a hip fracture.

"It's not the fall, but the response to the fall," says Patti League, R.N., lead trainer of A Matter of Balance, a program that works with older adults to reduce their fear of falling. "How do you live after the services end? How do you keep your fear of falling again in check? In short, how do you get your life back?"

The answers are both simple and complex. Simple in that you must take advantage of all services available until you are back to where you were before the fracture. Complex in that older adults are fighting a powerful bias that says partial recovery is okay.

"We like to say it's only a broken bone, and bones heal," says Rebecca Craik, Ph.D., chair of the department of physical therapy at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. "But when you're an older adult, the bar is often set too low. 'It's good enough just to be home. It's time in your life to rest.' Patients and their caregivers often don't push to get where they were before the surgery."

Part of the problem, Magaziner says, is that after a few months, just as the patient gains the ability to endure the intense physical therapy that will restore pre-fracture mobility and functionality, the infrastructure for care evaporates. What's needed, he believes, is continuing, reimbursed, multicomponent intervention tailored to each patient. In the meantime, those who have suffered a hip fracture can do much on their own.

Next: 4 tips for surviving a hip fracture. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Woman trying on glasses in optometrists shop

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at JCPenney Optical.

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

AngiesList

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.