A recent observational study has shown that one in every two elderly people, who have suffered a hip fracture will never be as physically active and independent as they were before. The odds are even lower for the very old and those with dementia or other ailments. Around 300,000 older Americans are hospitalized and receive surgery because of hip fractures annually. Although efforts are made to provide rehabilitation to patients so that they can enjoy the same level of physical activity as they were used to before the injury, many become increasingly frail and dependent on others. To make an informed assessment of how well older adults recover from a hip fracture, Victoria Tang, the lead researcher and her colleagues compared the physical condition and ability of 733 adults older than 65 years before and after the fracture. Their particulars were retrieved from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative longitudinal study that measures changes in the health and economic circumstances of people as they age. Participants’ functional recovery was measured based on how they were still independently able to care for themselves post-injury in terms of bathing, dressing, eating and going to the bathroom on their own. Factors such as their ability to walk around a street block or climb stairs without resting were noted, as well as their age and health status prior to the hip fracture.

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