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Bone strength, the elderly, & weakness

My aunt is 84, she'll be 85 in November. Last Sunday at 4 a.m. she fell, again. This time on her way to the bathroom. She was groggy from her prescription sleeping pills, I was with her and tried to get her to use her bedside potty chair, but she refused. After several tries she managed to get to her feet with my help and her walker. I was in front of the walker guiding it and we made it just outside her bedroom door when she fell. From in front of the walker, I couldn't even try to catch her.

I called for my uncle, her brother, who was asleep in his room and together we nearly got her on her feet when she said "My foot's broke!" We both looked at it, it was bent at a crazy angle so we eased her back down and called for help.

Her leg is broken in 2 places just above the ankle, and not just broken, it's partly crushed. They did surgery and she has a steel plate and several screws in her leg now. The Doctor said that her bones were so thin and weak there was almost nothing to screw into to support the break.

Now, a few days later, she is confused, sometimes out of her head, hallucinating, and sometimes can't remember where she is or what happened. Since she isn't strong enough for rehab at the hospital they are sending her to a nursing home for therapy.

Over two years ago she made a conscious decision to just go to bed and not bother getting up. Now after two years of that her legs, arms and back have gotten weak to the point where even making it to the bathroom is a tremendous effort for her. The bathroom is the ONLY place she walks to now!

The doctors said that not only has staying in bed caused her to loose muscle and bone but it has caused her skin to become very thin, almost like tissue paper. He said that he was almost afraid to operate because of it.

So stay up, stay out of bed, even if it hurts, and keep your older family members on their feet as long as you can. I was out of town when my aunt decided to go to bed, or it would never have happened! I wouldn't have let her get away with that.

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