Head Injuries in Older Adults

Whenever you think about a traumatic brain injury (TBI), your initial thought is likely to be a sports-related accident, such as a football player crashing head-first into a rival, or possibly a head-on collision in an auto accident – something less likely to affect senior loved ones. Nevertheless, the prevalence of traumatic head injuries in older adults is more prevalent than you might presume. In fact, among the leading causes of TBIs is falls – which we know are also one of several primary reasons behind severe injury in senior loved ones.

Traumatic brain injury is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, according to numerous criteria: if the individual who sustained the injury was rendered unconscious, and if so, how long the state of unconsciousness continued, together with the amount of symptom severity. Regardless of the classification, a TBI may have long-lasting and serious effects on the elderly. Symptoms range from one person to another, but might include any or all of the following:

  • Confusion, disorientation, plus the inability to remember the events related to the injury
  • Difficulties with remembering new information and/or with speaking coherently
  • Headache and/or dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • A ringing sound in the ears
  • Emotional and/or sleep disturbances

In a mild TBI, or concussion, the individual normally retains a state of consciousness, or if unconsciousness is experienced, it is less than 30 minutes in duration. A moderate TBI is diagnosed when unconsciousness lasts longer half an hour but under twenty-four hours, while a severe TBI results from more than twenty-four hours of unconsciousness. Symptoms tend to be the same regardless of the level of injury; however they are more severe and last for much longer as the severity increases.

With nearly 775,000 current senior TBI survivors, it is crucial to take the appropriate steps now to ensure your senior loved ones remain safe, in particular from falls. These preventative measures can help:

  • Assess the home environment and address any fall hazards such as throw rugs, extension cords, any clutter or furniture obstructing walking paths, and lack of lighting.
  • Be certain that your senior loved ones make use of a cane or walker at all times when advised by the physician, to compensate for any muscular or balance deficits.
  • Talk to the doctor about any potential medication side effects which could bring about dizziness or drowsiness, each of which heighten fall risk.
  • Make sure loved ones receive at least annual eye exams and that corrective lenses are always worn when prescribed.

Morning Glory Home Care can assist in many ways, from in-home safety appraisals in order to prevent falls, to highly tailored care for individuals struggling with the challenges of a TBI, as well as other conditions. Call us today at 618-667-8400 for a no-cost in-home assessment and to find out about how our dementia care in Alton is helping older adults live life to the fullest, every single day.