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Orthopedic - Navigating Interconnectedness and vitality

Orthopedic Care and Aging: Navigating the Interconnectedness for Vitality

August 29, 2023

The older I get, the more keenly aware I become of how everything in my body is connected. The human body is impressive, with everything working together as a whole. However, when one part is injured, other issues often follow.

This is where orthopedic care becomes essential. It is a branch of medicine that focuses on the care of the musculoskeletal system, which includes our bones, muscles, connective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and joints. It encompasses all the parts that support us and keep us moving as we should. When these components are thrown out of whack, we end up hobbling, laid up, or worse.

People of all ages may require orthopedic care for various issues, ranging from arthritis pain and osteoporosis to dislocations, fractures, and sports-related injuries. However, in the case of older adults, there are aging-related changes to the body that can make orthopedic injuries more likely. But there’s no need to worry. By taking some simple precautions, we can minimize the risk of harm.

Age-related Changes

As we age, our bodies naturally undergo changes to our bones, joints, and muscles, which can trigger various conditions that lead to injury. For instance:

  • Osteoporosis makes bones more fragile, increasing the risk of breaks and fractures.
  • Joint stiffness becomes more pronounced due to osteoarthritis and decreased joint fluid and cartilage.
  • Muscle loss is common and leads to reduced strength.
  • Balance issues arise, making us vulnerable to falls and affecting our overall gait.

Prevention Toolbox

If you’re like me, that list might have left you feeling concerned. But stay with me because while many aging-related changes to the musculoskeletal system are beyond our control, we can also do plenty of things to counteract or prevent them.

The Hickman has formed a valuable partnership with Bayada Home Health Care, which operates on our campus. Frank Staino, Senior Living Program Manager at Bayada, shares inspiring success stories of The Hickman residents. For instance, physical therapy has enabled residents to walk greater distances and regain independence, reducing the need for assistive devices like canes or walkers. Occupational therapy has empowered residents to regain self-sufficiency in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as showering and dressing without caregiver assistance. Speech therapy has allowed residents with diet restrictions to return to a regular diet.

Moreover, the collaborative efforts of Bayada and The Hickman’s nursing team have facilitated the healing of residents’ wounds. While Bayada primarily focuses on aiding individuals in recovery, prevention remains their top priority, and exercise plays a vital role in achieving this goal. Before starting any regimen, it’s essential to consult with your doctor. Consider incorporating the following tools into your routine to minimize the effects of aging-related musculoskeletal changes:

  • Practice chair activities, such as yoga, marching in place, ankle pumps, and gentle strength training.
  • Change your bed or chair position often to relieve pressure and stiffness.
  • Ensure your living environment is free of fall or trip hazards, such as clutter, cords, and area rugs.
  • Use assistive devices, such as walkers or canes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and visit your doctor regularly.

By acknowledging our bodies’ interconnectedness and prioritizing orthopedic care, especially with our partnership with Bayada, our residents can gracefully and vibrantly navigate the aging process, ensuring their bodies remain strong, agile, and capable of supporting them in their endeavors.

[9:27 AM] Tim