If you have an older relative that you worry about for different reasons, one of the risks that you have likely considered that he or she will encounter is experiencing a fall. This is not only relatively common among older people, but it's also particularly dangerous if that person lives alone, as he or she may not be discovered for hours or even days. Given this reality, several different products have been introduced around the world designed to provide people in this position with help.
There are also certain injuries that tend to be associated with falls that are experienced by older people, with perhaps the most common being a broken hip or other types of broken bone injuries. However, few people have stopped to consider the possibility that a person of advanced age who suffers a fall could wind up with a traumatic brain injury. That was the topic that was recently explored by researchers, and their findings were nothing short of startling for many different reasons.
A team of researchers at the Cleveland Clinics Injury and Osteoporosis Research Center tracked a group of Finnish residents for a period of 40 years and followed their progress in terms of their health. What they found was that in 1970, the number of older Finnish women who suffered traumatic brain injuries because of falls stood at 60. By the time the year 2011 rolled around, that number had increased to a total of 1,205.
Given the obvious and precipitous rise in the number of people who suffered traumatic brain injuries because of falls, several experts have gone about trying to offer theories as to how this could have occurred. There are several such theories being discussed now, and a few examples include:
- There is more knowledge with regards to the recognition and diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries now than there was in 1970.
- People are more aware of traumatic brain injuries now and are therefore more likely to report to hospitals after suffering a blow to the head than in years past.
- People are more aware and confident with regards to the treatments available for traumatic brain injuries and therefore more likely to seek that treatment.
Of course, no one knows for sure how this number could have risen so dramatically. What is known is that like people of any other age, traumatic brain injuries are extremely dangerous and extremely harmful to older people who experience them. They face many of the same symptoms as younger people, but many of them are also not diagnosed because people assume that their symptoms could simply be a function of old age.
We have been representing clients as traumatic brain injury lawyers for decades, and the Scarlett Law Group would like to advise anyone who has suffered a blow to the head to seek a full medical evaluation. It's much better to be safe than sorry in this context, and the earlier treatment is obtained, the better the outcome will likely be for anyone forced into this position.