Brain Injury and Aging

Consequences of aging and brain injury.

Consequences of aging and brain injury.

Brain Injury Blog 

May 11, 2011

Aging and Brain Injury

One of the hot topics surrounding brain injury is what happens to the aging population.  Read on and find many helpful tips on staying safe if you or a family member is an aging brain injury survivor.

Medical Care and Safety Tips for Aging Brain Injury Survivors

Confusion, difficulty recalling names and loss of memory are complaints commonly heard from most aging adults.  Physical abilities also change in people as they age. Concerns about aging are often magnified for people who have survived a traumatic brain injury and already have some impairments with their cognitive and physical abilities.  There are still many unknown factors about the long-term effects of trauma to the brain. Many survivors fear that aging will further hinder their cognitive and physical abilities.

Helpful Medical tips for aging brain injury survivors

  • Seek medical care.
    If your thinking, functioning or physical health changes, it is wise to seek professional help. Many medical conditions are reversible.
  • Find specialists with expertise on both aging and the effects of brain injury on the aging.
  • It is important to share information about the history of your brain injury to any professional who is treating you so bring copies of any medical records about your brain injury.
  • If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease find rehabilitation programs or services. You may benefit from cognitive rehabilitation, emotional support and medications.
  • Be sure to talk with your doctor about new medications and health supplements before taking them.

Helpful Safety tips for aging brain injury survivors

Changes in cognition and thinking occur as we age.  Physical conditions, like strength, coordination, balance, and endurance often change, posing additional challenges for people with brain injuries whose motor skills or physical abilities have already been compromised.  Along with receiving good medical care, the following strategies can help brain injured people reduce the risk of further injury as they grow older:

  • Always protect your head.
  • Avoid action sports that can increase the odds of another brain injury.
  • Always wear a helmet when biking, skating, playing baseball or other sports.
  • Always use a seat belt while riding in all moving vehicles.
  • Be aware of activities requiring a rapid physical response or agility if they were affected by your brain injury.
  • When facing a new situation, take the time to examine your choices and carefully choose the best response before you react.
  • When you are tired, reduce or avoid stimulating activities.  Fatigue reduces a person’s response time and the ability to think clearly.
  • Ensure your home, work and places you visit are safe, well lit and fall-proof.
  • Remember to keep taking all prescribed medications according to your doctor’s directions, especially if you have a seizure disorder.

These medical and safety tips are a starting point for a discussion with your doctor, other professionals, your family and can help protect you from another injury.

2 responses to “Brain Injury and Aging”

  1. Janet Cromer says:

    Thanks for posting on such an important subject, Annie. My husband was 62 at the time of his brain injury. A few years later he developed Parkinson’s disease and dementia. We found that is is extremely important to keep reminding every doctor you see that the patient has a brain injury. That’s because medications often prescribed for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc often effect survivors differently, can counteract each other, or cause worse side effects. It’s possible to manage these problems, but it’s a real balancing act.

  2. Marie G. Cooney says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write these tips. As a TBI survivor, I try not to be overly worried about the aging process, but I must be aware of effects TBI already has on me and could contribute to my life in the future.
    Marie G. Cooney

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