Elderly Concussions Are On the Rise
According to a new report from U.S. government researchers, elderly are suffering concussions and other severe brain injuries at an alarming rate.
While the reason isn’t clear, one of the factors that is being considered is that the elderly are wanting to keep their independence by living at home and falling.
“Many older adults are afraid their independence will be taken away if they admit to falling, and so they minimize it,” said Dr. Lauren Southerland, an Ohio State University emergency physician.
While this is an issue for the elderly, this also affects many others. One in every 45 Americans that are 75 or older suffered an injury and it resulted in and emergency room or doctor visits. This rate has grown by 76 percent since 2007. With the elderly having to make multiple visits, this uses resources such as medication and time spent with ER and family physicians. Sadly though, one fall may not be the end of it. One fall will sometimes lead to another. A study published from Ohio State shows that more than a third of the elderly that visits for head injuries return within 90 days.
Even when an elderly person has visited the hospital or their doctor, the risk of future injuries may have been missed. Southerland mentions that it is not unusual for a 25-year-old athlete who fell on his head to get a more thorough evaluation for concussion than an elderly retiree.
These thoughts and stats may be concerning, but there are actions that can be taken to prevent injuries. Getting your vision checked regularly as well as doing physical activity such as light Yoga or Tai Chi that concentrate on strengthening leg muscles and improving balance. Also doing a check of the home to make sure tripping hazards are removed such as cords as well as installing grab bars and better lighting can reduce the likelihood of injuries.