March is Brain Injury awareness month, which is a great time for seniors of all backgrounds and health statuses to take a few moments to consider some tips and facts about caring for brain and head health. While you may not think life in an assisted living community is exciting enough to warrant these concerns (and we certainly don't think you need to wear a helmet while roaming the Bethesda Gardens halls), you may be surprised by some of these brain injury facts.
While car accidents and sports injuries are often thought of when individuals hear of brain injury, falls are actually the leading reason individuals report for head trauma during emergency room and hospital visits. In fact, falls account for 47 percent of these cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The assisted living staff at Bethesda Gardens works with every resident to help ensure their safety, and seniors can also take precautions to help prevent falls in their own apartments. Some precautions include:
Ensuring safety railing is properly installed and maintained in bathroom spaces and using them appropriately
Double checking that carpet or rugs lay flat and that no area of the floor poses a potential tripping hazard
Keeping oft-accessed items within reach on counters and shelves to minimize stooping or the use of step-stools
Ensuring walkways and other areas of the assisted living apartment are clean and clear and that cords and other items are safely tucked out of the way
According to the CDC, individuals over the age of 75 have the highest risk for brain injury, with falls being the top cause. Seniors also reported brain injuries related to auto accidents and being struck by items. In addition to mitigating fall risks within their own assisted living apartments, seniors can reduce risks for brain injuries by keeping closets and shelves organized to prevent items falling off and by taking precautions when engaging in activities that could involve contact.
Brain injuries can often be treated, especially when they are reported quickly. Here are some signs you might be dealing with a concussion.
Difficulty with thought processes or concentration
Feeling like your mind or experiences are slowing down
Sensitivity to light
Being more emotional than normal
Changes in sleep
Obviously, all of these symptoms can be associated with other conditions and even the aging process itself, so seniors shouldn't be alarmed if they experience one or two of these from time to time. But if you experience them regularly or know you have hit your head recently, it may be a good idea to get checked out. If you're not comfortable making the call on whether to seek medical attention on your own, you can always reach out to the caring Bethesda Gardens staff for assistance.