Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Among the Elderly

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are a few startling results you should know about Traumatic Brain Injury if you or someone you love is elderly. Preventing Brain Injury Factsheet

Fact 1:

People over the age of 75 account for the highest rate of hospitalization and death related to TBI.

Fact 2:

Falls are the primary cause of traumatic brain injuries.

TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. Regardless of the severity of the condition if you suspect traumatic brain injury you need medical attention right away. Anyone who is taking blood thinners and receives a bump on or blow to the head should see a physician immediately regardless of whether or not they are experiencing any of the symptoms that are commonly associated with TBI.

Prevention is almost always the best cure. If your goal is prevent TBI you’ll definitely want to go to great lengths to prevent slips and falls among the elderly in your life. Since falls are the number one cause of TBI among the elderly you’ll want to do these things to make falls less likely.

1)   Exercise. Exercise is about so much more than building muscles, losing weight, and staying in shape. Did you know that exercise also helps improve balance? You don’t have to do high impact aerobics to help you prevent falls. Tai Chi is an excellent choice for improving balance and providing a little bit of tone and mild strengthening.

2)   Shoes. Wearing shoes that provide good support, fit well, and have non-slip soles will greatly reduce your risk of slips and falls. Also avoid walking around in socks or slippers as well as going without shoes altogether.

3)   Shed a little light on things. Good lighting is important because it will help the elderly see potential obstacles or hazards. Even installing nightlights in hallways and bathrooms can help avoid slips and falls during times when they can be particularly troublesome.

4)   Eliminate clutter. Even if this means you need to go to the expense of hiring someone to help out with housekeeping duties it’s important to minimize clutter that could be a tripping hazard. It also helps to minimize steps whenever possible for normal daily tasks by having items that are used often well within reach.

5)   Check vision frequently. Among the elderly poor eyesight can be a huge problem. It’s hard to avoid obstacles and hazards if you can’t see them. In addition to lighting it’s important to have good vision.

These are small but vital steps to take when your goal is the prevention of traumatic brain injury among the aging. You can’t always prevent falls from happening. Make sure there is a second line of defense in place through a medical alert system to protect the ones you love if the unthinkable should happen.

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