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Elderly population suffering more fall-related brain injuries

With summer fast approaching and Massachusetts students preparing to get out of school, many families in the area may be planning trips to visit grandparents and other loved ones on their vacations. Although the summer months are a great time to be active as a family, elderly relatives are more susceptible to suffering serious harm such as brain injuries during such periods of activity. While brain injuries are traumatic for all people, they can be particularly catastrophic for the elderly population.

The Cleveland Clinics Injury and Osteoporosis Research Center recently released the findings of an international study that confirm elderly people are suffering more traumatic brain injuries as a result of falls than they were 40 years ago. The elderly suffer falls for many reasons that include tripping over items, dizziness and moving before they are ready. While some victims only suffer minor cuts and abrasions as a result of their falls, others sustain head trauma and brain injuries that require treatment and high medical expenses.

The children and grandchildren of potential falling victims can take some actions to help prevent traumatic falls and brain injuries in their loved ones. For elderly family members who live alone, rugs and other floor-based times should be secured to prevent tripping. Commonly used items should also be placed within easy reach and adapters can be used to facilitate reaching light switches, fan cords and other appliances.

For people whose elderly loved ones live in retirement or health facilities, ensuring that safety protocols are followed by facility staff members can protect facility residents from falls. Licensed facilities are required to protect their residents from injury, though negligent operational procedures can lead to resident accidents. Elderly residents who have suffered brain injuries or other fall-related medical problems as a result of negligent care have rights regarding their treatment and well-being.

Source: WWSB 7 News, "Elderly falls resulting in more brain injury," May 7, 2013

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