Seniors and Caregiver Information

Seniors and TBI

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has termed traumatic brain injury (TBI) the “silent epidemic,” which significantly impacts older adults.

Unintended falls represent the primary cause of injury among adults 65 years of age and older, with three-quarters of hospital visits in this population due to a TBI caused by a fall.  In addition, adults aged 75 and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death.  The impact of a TBI among older persons has a significant financial and human cost to both the individual and the various support systems.

 

Prevention

BrainLine – Preventing TBI in older Adults

 

At home steps that can be taken as extra support:

Encourage Exercise.

  • Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce falls.

Provide a Safe Home and Environment:

  • Remove belongings from stairs and floors that might cause tripping.
  • Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
  • Place items used often within easy reach, so that a step stool is not needed.
  • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
  • Place non-stick mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Be sure there are handrails and lights on all staircases.
  • Be sure the older adult wears shoes that give good support. 

Medication(s) Reviewed by Health Care Provider.

Administer a Vision Check.

 

Additional Information and Resources:

The Brain Injury Guide and Resources – The Elderly and Traumatic Brain Injury

BrainLine – Seniors & Brain Injury

 

Caregiver Support and Caregiving

When someone suffers a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the entire family is affected. Studies show that caregivers of people who have suffered a brain injury may experience feelings of burden, distress, anxiety, anger and depression. If you are caring for a partner, spouse, child, relative or close friend with TBI, it is important to recognize how stressful this situation can be and to seek support services.

Services that may be most helpful to you include in-home assistance (home health aides or personal care assistants), respite care to provide breaks from caregiving, brain injury support groups, and ongoing or short-term counseling for caregivers to adjust to the changes that have come as a result of the injury.

You also may need to ask your support system of family, friends and community members for help with your loved one’s care so that you don’t get burned out. The Family Caregiver Alliance’s National Center on Caregiving, provides important Self Care information for Caregivers: Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers

Assistance for Caregiver

In your role as a caregiver, you may find that it can be difficult to find appropriate and adequate services for your loved one. It is important to know that you will most likely need to be persistent in your search for assistance. You should use your network of family and friends, as well as professionals, to get tips about available resources.

 

Resources / Supports:

ALTSA Services

Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA)

Family Caregiver Alliance

Social Security Administration

Washington’s Area Agencies on Aging, 1-855-567-0252

 

Centers for Independent Living (CIL)

Some families have found that it is important to encourage their loved one with a TBI to continually learn skills that can allow them to live independently in the community.  The CIL help people with disabilities live independently in the community and may have resources to help everyone reach a goal of living alone. CIL services include advocacy, peer counseling, case management, personal assistance and counseling, information and referral, and independent living skills development. Find a  CIL near you.