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Posted: February 17, 2022

Health & Wellness

Falls Lead to Traumatic Brain Injury in Older Adults

We all know that falls can lead to a variety of complications, especially in our more vulnerable population, senior citizens. According to the CDC more than one out of four older adults fall each year and the chances of a falling again doubles after the first occurrence. Not only is there a possibility of fracturing or breaking bones, but falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In fact, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in older adults.

Most people believe that a person must lose consciousness for a fall to result in traumatic brain injury but that isn’t true. There are varying degrees of TBI that can have potentially serious consequences as we age. A milder form of TBI is known as a concussion. Concussions don’t cause unconsciousness and sometimes symptoms may not develop for days or weeks after the incident. Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble speaking coherently

It is always advised to consult a doctor if you or your loved one have suffered a head injury, even if it is mild. It can be an especially dangerous situation if your loved one takes medication that causes blood thinning.

New research from the University of Pennsylvania has found that a single head injury can lead to dementia later in life and that this risk increases as the number of injuries sustained increases. The Mayo Clinic has also found that sustaining a head injury when aged 55 or older may also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. The best thing we can do to minimize the risk of developing TBI is to take care of ourselves, prevent falls, wear a helmet when riding a bike and always wear a seatbelt in the car.

How to prevent falls

One method of preventing falls is to use a walker or an assistive walking device such as a cane to help with balance. Also important to take into consideration is to get plenty of sleep and stand up slowly when getting out of bed or a chair. Getting up too quickly can cause blood pressure to drop which can make you feel unsteady or dizzy.

Make sure to regularly visit your doctor to have your vision and hearing checked. Yes, you read that correctly. Hearing also plays an important role in maintaining balance.

Check the side effects of your medication. Dizziness is a common side effect of many prescription medications, even over the counter medicines can affect balance.

Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more lighting or using brighter light bulbs. It’s easier to trip over something when a room is dark or dimly lit. Also, reducing the amount of clutter in the home will help reduce the risk of tripping and falling.

#1 Tip: Stay Active!

Most importantly, stay active! Many older adults who suffer from a fall develop a fear of falling again. This fear may lead to the individual becoming less active to avoid the risk of falling again. What they often don’t realize is that the less active they are the quicker their muscles become weaker increasing the likelihood of falling. This is why it is especially important for your loved one to stay active in their golden years. Including strength and balance exercises is key.

Demaree Crossing’s memory care community has a great program that promotes not only physical but mental health for older adults called Movement 4 Life. The program’s goal is to get residents moving again. Whether that is in the form of taking a walk, cleaning their home there are many ways to get moving. Exercise helps older adults reduce falls, improve strength and balance, and improve mental health and overall quality of life. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends!

Is it time to consider a memory care community?

Have you been considering moving your loved one into a memory care community? Demaree Crossing’s signature memory care program, Rhythms Dementia, offers a person-centered approach to care and encourages a highly fulfilling and exciting lifestyle. Our Rhythms Dementia care program includes customized enrichment programs for your lived one and specialized experiential dining that is designed to support cognition.

Demaree Crossing believes a resident’s environment plays an important role in reinforcing connections and confidence. Our experienced care team aims to learn your loved one’s natural routine and adapt our memory care services to their personal needs. We invite you to take a 360 Virtual Tour of our memory care neighborhood apartments. Have questions or ready to schedule an in-person tour, please contact us and we will be happy to help!

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