National Brain Injury Awareness Month
March marks the beginning of Brain Injury Awareness Month. The Brain injury Association of America (BIAA) is the nation’s leading association in organizing and bringing awareness around brain injuries. There are two types of brain injuries. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) which can occur due to motor vehicle accidents, sports or recreational injuries, domestic violence, falls, and other external forces. Non-traumatic brain injuries begin internally due to disease, poisoning, lack of oxygen, strokes, internal medical conditions, and hereditary conditions. These injuries have no boundaries and are experienced by all demographics. Today we are going to primarily focus on brain injuries within the senior population and preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk.
TBI Occurrences in Seniors
TBI occurs in seniors primarily due to falling. As we get older our bodies and minds naturally begin to decline. This decline leads to an increase in risk factors that can result in a sudden fall. These risk factors include, but are not limited, to:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Vision problems
- Poor footwear
- Lower body weakness
- Home hazards i.e., loose rugs, clutter, or uneven steps/tile
- Certain medications
Florida has seen an increase in fall related deaths within the senior community since 2007 along with the rest of the country. Death is, of course, the absolute worst result of a fall. There are many more negative outcomes though, such as broken bones, head injuries, and a constant fear of falling which could result in limiting daily activities.
Preventative Measures for Seniors
The good news is a lot of risk factors leading to falls can be controlled. The CDC encourages all healthcare professionals to bring TBI awareness to their patients or clients along with older adults concerning preventative measures:
- Talk to your doctor and evaluate your risk
- Ask your doctor to review your medication
- Talk to you doctor about Vitamin D supplements
- Exercises that improve your strength and balance
- Frequent eye exams(for more information be sure to check out our blog World Glaucoma Week)
Analyze your home and ask yourself
- Is there anything I can trip over?
- Does my tub or shower need grab bars?
- Do I have enough lighting?
- Is everything I need within arm’s reach without needing a step stool?
- Should I install stair railings?
- Are my bathroom mats non-slip?
How to Observe National Brain Awareness Month
- Post your support with #BrainInjuryAwarenessMonth on social media
- If personally effected, share your story here
- Make a donation
- Invite a speaker to lead an educational workshop
- Volunteer to help a family in need
If you or someone you know has recently suffered from a fall, then you may be familiar with the sense of fear that naturally occurs afterwards. Many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, develop a fear-of-falling mentality. This can lead to a decrease in their everyday activities and can begin a dangerous cycle. A decrease in daily activities leads to a decrease in strength which inevitably leads to an increased chance of falling. If this occurs, then you or your loved one may benefit from having a caregiver in the home. A caregiver can be present as an extra security measure to not only prioritize the safety of the individual but to encourage the daily activities that may have been lost due to a fall.
If you or someone you know is interested in preventative measures that can be taken to decrease the chances of a fall BEFORE it happens then something to consider would be a caregiver to provide in home care. They can be present to ease your mind by assisting with transferring around the home, bathing, dressing, toileting, cooking, and cleaning; all things which, without preventative measures, can result in a fall.
Since 1997 we have taken pride in referring quality caregivers to families in similar situations. The caregiver we refer will have all the state required trainings and necessary experience needed for your situation. Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you feel that a caregiver can be beneficial. There is no need to live in constant fear of the next fall because we are here and ready for your call.