Friday, March 03, 2006

You break (your hip), you've bought it

…A friend’s mother was in the hospital with a broken hip and tried to get up--and fell and broke her other one.

…HA’s mother also has been known to take extra little steps and veer around a bit (getting twirly, we call it).

…These little tumbles are costing lives, livelihoods, and lucre, $20 billion in 2000, with hip fractures being the #1 Medicare expenditure.

…Falls aren’t an inevitable part of aging, though, the Center for the Advancement of Health reminds us.

…Jon Pynoos, PhD, codirector of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence at the University of California, says part of the fault—and the cure—lies close to home.

…"Many people live in 'Peter Pan houses,'” he says, “houses where people never grow old.”

…We need more railings, grab bars, nonskid tile, room for wheelchairs to enter a room, turn around, and exit. And that is just the beginning.

…Phoenix builder Albert Ayala wrote the book on this. It’s called The Right Space (see right). He undertook this when he was thinking of moving his own Mom into his home and saw how complicated the regulations were—even for him and he is a licensed contractor.

…Other ways to prevent falls include better diet, even blood sugar, proper footwear (lose the stilettos, Gram), and regular exercise, including some for balance, such as tai chi.

…An eye exam and trip to the sawbones to check for Parkinson’s and other stuff wouldn’t hurt, either.

…And…could those prescriptions be duking it out and making your head spin?

…Incidentally, another doc says the answer is not to sit on the couch and hope for the best.

…Drat! HA thought that was working.

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