Traumatic brain injury is a concern in the elderly. Falls happen more frequently as one ages.
More and more seniors want to maintain their independence. It’s a
good goal and keeps them healthy and in good spirits with a positive outlook
on running their own lives. Along with this independence though comes
a few risks that need to be taken into consideration; the risk of falls
or other seemingly small accidents that may mean an end to living independently.
One of the first things seniors need to do is protect themselves from
traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Statistically speaking, falls are one of the leading causes of traumatic
brain injury and in people over the age of 75 years old, the chances of
sustaining a fall while at home are quite high. In fact, if you are over
75 you have the greatest probability of being hospitalized after a fall;
a fall that may result in death or traumatic brain injury. Prevention
for falls can’t be stressed enough when it comes to the elderly
living alone; that and fast access to help and prompt care.
Not all falls result in severe brain injury, but may manifest themselves
as mild TBI (also referred to on occasion as a concussion). If your loved
one has fallen, be on the lookout for some of these symptoms: blurred
vision; a lingering headache that isn’t a bad one, but annoying;
dizziness; sensitivity to light or sound; constant ringing in the ears;
memory problems; difficulties concentrating; and changes in sleeping patterns.
Moderate TBI has similar symptoms, but may also have slurred speech; seizures;
pupil dilation in one or both eyes; nausea; a bad headache that won’t
quit; numbness in arms or legs; and loss of coordination. If you see any
of these signposts of TBI, don’t wait; get the person to a doctor
right away for treatment. If the older person is on warfarin, it is paramount
you seek medical attention fast, whether the person is experiencing the
above symptoms or not. Warfarin is nothing to fool around with.
While it’s nice that seniors want to live on their own, they really
need help when it comes to medical problems that may arise if they fall.
Time is critical. Being isolated and alone means those who have fallen
often aren’t discovered until it’s too late. These observations
are also applicable if you have a much loved senior in a nursing home
and they take a fall that no one responds to appropriately. Medic alert
systems may save the day in situations like this.
Know the signs and symptoms of TBI. Know your senior’s habits and
how they normally react to things. If something changes, take them to
a doctor. If your senior has fallen in a nursing home as result of negligent care,
speak to a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.