Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My father: the statistics

I had a good talk with my father when I visited him the week before last, the gist of which was the need to have a clear image of an independent life for as long as possible.  Given his 53-year marriage to my mother, this is easier said than done.  He said he was aware of the unfavorable statistics regarding broken hips and losing a long-time spouse.  Having avoided it for a while, I decided to look them up.  A quick Internet search reveals that mortality rates go up about 50% within the year of losing a spouse.  This does not mean that 50% of spouses die within the year, but rather that, all things being equal, the odds of dying within a year of losing a spouse are 50% more.  As to broken hips, mortality rates are about 25% within a year, higher for older people due to complications such as blood clots, pneumonia or infection.  Sobering indeed.

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