There is no doubt that experiencing a bone fracture can be inconvenient as well as painful. However, for older adults a fracture can seriously impact on quality of life and may lead to further health complications.
In its 2012 publication entitled ‘Osteoporosis costing all Australians’ Osteoporosis Australia reported that 66% of Australians over the age of 50 have osteoporosis or osteopenia (poor bone health). By 2022 it forecasts there will be over 6 million Australians in this age group with these conditions. The report emphasizes the urgency of taking action and highlights the financial burden of not doing so. According to the report’s findings the total cost of treatment and ancillary services relating to fractures will amount to a staggering $22.7 billion over the 10 years to 2023.
Older people living in residential aged care facilities are at considerably higher risk of suffering fractures than those living in the community. Research has shown that 85% of nursing home residents have osteoporosis and that 40% of all hip fractures occur in this population¹.
There is an increasing awareness of the importance of nutritional intervention to address the primary causes of frailty, with particular emphasis being placed on daily protein intake. A group of Melbourne researchers is leading a world-first study into the use of dairy foods to reduce the risk of falls and fractures in residential aged care facilities. The two-year trial, believed to be the largest of its kind in the world, involves 4,500 residents living at 60 facilities in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
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