Elderly-Proofed

Manila Bulletin, August 4, 2012 | Go to article overview

Elderly-Proofed


"Beauty, wit, high birth,

Vigour of bone -are subjects all to envious and calumniating time."

- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), English playwright

Troilus and Cressida (1602) Act 3, Sc.3, L.171

WE all seem to agree that our homes are to be made "child-proof." The unsafe home makes accidents, with children as victims, more likely to happen. But can we "elderly-proof" our homes too? Are there ways to make the home a safer place for Lolo and Lola? The last thing we want is to see our loved ones sprawled on the floor, unable to get up, writhing in pain, because of a broken bone.

Osteoporotic fractures are tragedies because they are preventable.

There are four areas of the skeleton most prone to fractures because of brittle bones. These are fractures of the hip (femoral neck or intertrochanteric), the shoulder (proximal humerus), the spine (vertebral body), and the wrist (distal radius).

In the United States, there are an estimated 323,000 hospitalizations for hip fractures every year. That's 850 fractures a day. At the Philippine Orthopedic Center, 60 percent of fracture admissions are osteoporotic in nature. The Female Service Ward of our hospital looks like a Grandmother's Day get-together except that everyone is in balanced skeletal traction.

Is a Broken Hip Serious? Nearly 24% of patients with hip fractures over 50 years old die within 12 months after injury. This is due to complications related to the broken hip and seldom because of the fracture itself. All hip fracture patients will require walking aids for several months and almost half of them will need walkers or canes, permanently. …

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