March is National Traumatic Brain Injury Month and Accredited Health Services (AHS) is working to raise
awareness of what TBI is, how to avoid it and how to treat it.

Seniors are the most ‘at-risk’ population for TBI; Americans aged 75 and older account for the highest percentage
of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths each year. Of the estimated 1.7 million Americans who suffer a TBI
each year, the primary cause is a fall. This makes it critical for older Americans, and those who care for them, to
recognize symptoms of brain injury associated with TBI and know how to respond. Getting immediate attention
can minimize the damage of TBI, and improve the outcome of rehabilitation efforts.

Here’s what you should know:

Symptoms of TBI
• Persistent headache
• Nausea and vomiting
• Convulsions/seizures
• Problems with memory, concentration, organization and/or problem solving
• Slowness in thinking, reading, speaking and acting
• Fatigue and weakness
• Change in sleep patterns
• Dilation in pupils
• Mood changes
• Loss of balance/impaired coordination/light-headedness
• Confusion, restlessness, agitation

Ways to Prevent TBI
• EXERCISE — Regular exercise is the most important preventive measure older Americans can take to
avoid taking a fall which is the most common cause of TBI. It increases strength, agility, balance and
coordination.
• MAKING THE HOME SAFER — The Center for Disease Control recommends the following to safeguard the
home for seniors:
• Removing things from floors and stairs that could pose a tripping hazard
• Using double sided tape to keep area rugs firmly in place
• Placing frequently-used items used within easy reach so a step-stool is not needed
• Installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub and shower
• Putting non-stick mats in the bath and shower
• Improving the lighting in the home
• Making sure there are handrails and lights in stairwells
• Outfitting older adults with shoes that offer good support and have thin, non-slip soles (avoid
wearing slippers and socks or going shoeless)
• REVIEW MEDICATIONS regularly by health care providers. As people age, the way a drug works in the
body can change. Sometimes, those changes cause light-headedness or drowsiness that can lead to a fall.
• VISION CHECKS are also critical to ensure that prescription eyeglasses are correct and there are no
conditions that limit vision like glaucoma or cataracts.
Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you have questions or concerns about TBI, how to treat it and how to avoid it, post a comment here or call
Accredited Health Services at 201.432-8844.