For most Americans, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is most often associated with professional athletes and war veterans, whose professions automatically put them at an increased risk of serious injury. Little do they know, one of the groups most affected by TBI receives very little media coverage and public attention: seniors and the elderly.
Adults aged 65 or older are one group that is at an increased risk for a TBI. Adults who are 75 or older have the highest rate of TBI related hospitalization and death. Due to advanced age, seniors recover more slowly and are more likely to sustain permanent damage after a brain injury.
How Do I Know If My Loved One Has Suffered a TBI?
After a TBI, lingering brain damage can cause older people to experience physical, cognitive and emotional problems. Some common impairments include:
- Cognitive difficulties – difficulty concentrating, trouble organizing thoughts or becoming easily confused or forgetful.
- Problems with language – slurred speech, difficulty finding words, poor sentence formation.
- Sensory complications or losses – blurred or double vision, trouble with balance and sensitivity to light or sound.
- Emotional issues – depression, sudden mood swings, yelling or tantrums, inability to engage with others.
Symptoms can take days or weeks to appear after the initial injury, so family and caretakers do not consider the TBI as a cause for the person’s behavior. Often a traumatic brain injury goes untreated because loved ones assume the issues are a normal part of the aging process.
Falls are the most common cause of TBI in older adults, followed by car accidents. Even a fall from floor level can seriously injure an older person. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, here are some ways you can keep them safe:
- Add brighter lighting to help your loved one see better.
- Make sure small rugs are secure by using double-sided tape, or remove them altogether.
- Install handrails on staircases, and grab bars next to the toilet, tub and shower.
- Place items within easy reach, to minimize the use of step stools and ladders.
- Make sure older people have sturdy shoes with non-slip soles. Discourage slippers and socks.
No amount of safety equipment can fully prevent a fall or TBI, but these tips can help your loved one stay safe and healthy.
At Metier Law Firm, we have years of experience defending victims of traumatic brain injury. We know that every case is different, and we can make sure you have the strongest case in court.
If your elderly loved one was injured as a result of abuse or neglect, call Metier Law Firm to discuss your case. We know the emotional toll TBI can take on the family as well as the victim, and we can treat your case with the care and consideration it deserves.
Metier Law Firm, LLC – Injury Attorneys Serving Clients Nationwide
[Did You Know: Based on a California study, 71 percent of fatal TBIs caused by falls occurred in adults aged 65 and older.]