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My 83-year old mother has been diagnosed with dementia. She has slowly declined in mental and physical abilities. She can no longer walk without a cane (indoors) or walker (outdoors). I’m worried about what will happen if she falls and breaks a hip. Will her dementia keep her from recovering?


Dementia is a risk factor for poor outcome after hip fracture. Often patients without dementia who are using a cane or walker don’t regain the ability to walk after hip fracture. A study in Japan showed that walking does make a difference after hip fracture. Those patients who are able to regain the ability to walk two months after surgery have a better outcome. Dementia doesn’t affect the ability to walk. In other words, adults with dementia don’t forget how to walk. Instead, they show poor response to rehab or physical therapy after a fracture. This makes recovery slower with more complications. The death rate is higher for patients after hip fracture who don’t walk again. Junicha Tanaka, MD, et al. Outcomes of Hip Fracture Surgery in Patients Aged > 90 Years. In Orthopedics. January 2003. Vol. 26. No. 1. Pp. 55-58.

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