Falls are the leading cause of death for older Americans.
“1 in every 5 people who break their hip, will die within one year.”
I hear these sort of statistics often. And although impactful, the message seems to hit me a bit harder when I get to know the person behind that number. Learn their name, see their smile, hear from their family.
Last week, KERA news reporter Lauren Silverman introduced her radio listeners to one such story behind that statistic in her report titled “The Broken Hip Chapter 1 – The Quick Decline.” It was a compelling and impactful piece of storytelling, and in my opinion, one worth sharing.
In it, we meet 87-year-old Jeanette Mariani, an independent grandmother living in Dallas on her own and getting around with a walker. Then she fell and broke her hip — and everything changed. Lauren met Jeannette shortly after her fall and interviewed her as part of a new two-month long series called “The Broken Hip” which launched last week.
One month after Lauren met this grandmother of eight, she passed away, on Christmas Day. The fall was just a trigger for the other underlying conditions that ultimately took her life. This scenario is all too common for people who suffer a hip fracture from a fall.
It’s an important topic that, according to the statistics, will most likely touch you or your family at some point in your life. For the series, KERA News will explore the stories of other North Texans and their families who have experienced this very serious medical issue.
Upcoming stories will focus on new research focused on preventing falls and recovering from fractured hips faster. And KERA also developed this awesome infographic about how to make your (or a loved one’s) bedroom fall-proof.
Dr. Alan Jones, medical director of the orthopedic trauma department at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, is also part of the series. Last week, Dr. Jones was a guest on the call-in radio program “Think.” He joined host Krys Boyd for an hour-long on-air discussion to explore the issue of hip fractures and answer questions from callers on this subject. You can listen to the podcast here.
@BaylorHealth will be participating in KERA’s #TheBrokenHip twitter chat this Thursday, May 15, 2:00pm to 3:00pm. We encourage you to join the discussion. We’d love to answer your questions or hear your own stories about dealing with the issue. Use #TheBrokenHip hashtag to join in on the conversation.