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Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury in Elderly

By Nikhil Mehta, 9:00 am on

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can range from mild to severe and affect a senior’s cognitive functioning. While most cases of TBI are not life threatening, even a mild case can lead to long-term changes that can affect a senior’s ability to live independently. Since TBI often occurs due to an impact to a person’s head that injures the brain, many cases are preventable. Here is what every family member an in-home caregiver should know about the causes and treatments for TBIs.

Causes

Falls are the most common cause of TBI in seniors, and the Alzheimer’s Association reports that those over the age of 75 are at the greatest risk. Vehicle accidents, sports-related injuries, and direct blows from objects such as a bullet are also common causes. Palm Desert elder care professionals also note that frequent but minor blows to the head, such as would occur during football, have been linked to dementia.

Symptoms

When a brain injury occurs, a person may experience a loss of consciousness. This could be only a matter of seconds, or it could last longer than 24 hours. Other symptoms of a TBI include:
• Headache
• Dizziness
• Inability to remember the incident
• Blurry vision
• Nausea and/or vomiting
• Difficulty speaking
• Mood changes

Treatments

If TBI is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The medical team will ask questions about the events surrounding the accident and perform a neurological assessment to determine a treatment plan. In some instances, brain imaging may be used to check for swelling or bleeding in the brain. Once a diagnosis is made, treatments can range from simple rest and observation to longer stays and medication depending upon the severity of the injury.

Outcomes

The long-term outcome for a senior with TBI depends upon how severe the damage was to the brain. Those with a mild case of TBI may return to their normal lifestyle after a period of observation. Seniors who are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s related to TBI can expect to continue long-term treatment, as these are progressive conditions.

To learn more about senior health and safety, turn to Home Care Assistance of the Palm Desert. Although we are known for our live-in care, we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia home care in the Palm Desert, ensuring seniors have the support they need to remain comfortable and safe regardless of their personal capabilities. Call a friendly Care Manager today at (760) 345-0001 and find out how our care services can help your loved one maintain a high-quality life throughout the golden years.