Millions of Americans across the United States provide some form of care to an older adult. Whether you are a professional caregiver or take care of a parent, grandparent, other family member or close friend, it is important to understand what a traumatic brain injury or TBI is and how these serious injuries can be avoided.
A TBI is caused by an injury to the head that affects a brain’s normal functions. The number one cause of TBIs is a slip and fall or trip and fall accident. Unfortunately, this is a huge health concern for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over the age of 75 have the highest rates of hospitalizations and deaths as a result of TBIs. Those in this age bracket tend to recover more slowly and die more frequently from TBI-related injuries than compared to younger people.
TBIs can vary in severity, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms so that you can react accordingly. The symptoms associated with a mild TBI can include:
• Blurred Vision
• Ringing in Ears
• Getting Confused or Lost Easily
• Felling Tired all the Time or Experiencing a Lack of Energy
• Frequent Mood Changes
• Trouble Remembering Things
• Having a Constant Headache
A person suffering a moderate or severe TBI may experience some of the above symptoms in addition to the following:
• Worsening Headache
• Nausea or Vomiting
• Seizures or Convulsions
• Dilated Pupils
• Weakness in the Arms and Legs
• Increased Restlessness or Confusion
• Slurred Speech
If you suspect that an older adult in your care has suffered a TBI, take them to a doctor right away. It should be noted that older adults taking blood thinners should seek medical attention immediately if they have endured a bump or blow to the head even if they are experiencing none of the above symptoms.
TBIs are entirely preventable. The best way to prevent a TBI in older adults, is to reduce the risks for slips, trips and falls. The CDC strongly recommends the following to keep those close to you safe from injury or death:
1. Make the Home and Surroundings Safer. There are many things you can do to help prevent your loved ones from suffering a serious injury such as a TBI. Make sure floors are free of any debris that could cause a slip and fall or trip and fall accident. Install hand rails on all staircases and make sure to add brighter lighting in these accident-prone areas. For bathroom safety, install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or bathtub and place non-stick mats in the tub and on shower floors.
2. Encourage Physical Activity. Exercise is actually on of the best ways to reduce the risks of older adults’ having a slip and fall or trip and fall accident because it improves balance and coordination. Always get a doctor’s approval before having someone you care for participate in any physical activities.
3. Regular Vision Checks. Poor vision actually increases the chances of someone falling, so make sure that you take the person you care for in to see the eye doctor to make sure eye glass prescriptions are accurate and that there are no conditions present that could limit vision, such as cataracts or glaucoma.
4. Review Medications with a Medical Professional. A doctor or pharmacist can go over any medications an older adult takes to make sure they understand the side effects. Sometimes certain medications can cause drowsiness or lightheadedness, which could result in a fall.
If you or your loved one has sustained a TBI due to a fall as the result of someone else’s negligence, a Citrus County Slip, Trip and Fall Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you obtain the financial justice you deserve. We represent brain injury victims throughout Citrus County, including the cities of Inverness, Crystal River, Beverly Hills, Lecanto, Homosassa, Dunnellon, Hernando, Sugarmill Woods, Citrus Springs and Floral City. Contact us today online or call us anytime at 352-726-0078.