Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in seniors, and one of the most potentially dangerous of these injuries is a concussion. Though most concussions do not have long-term effects, serious brain injuries that are not addressed and treated right away can have a significant impact on a senior’s cognitive health. Kitchener, ON, senior home care experts share some important steps you and your elderly loved one should take if you suspect he or she has a concussion.
Schedule a Full Medical Examination
If your loved one falls and hits his or her head, schedule a full medical examination if there is even a small chance he or she has been seriously injured. The symptoms of a concussion might not become apparent for days, and failing to treat the injury during this critical period could be lead to serious complications down the line. In many cases, a doctor will suggest nothing more than resting for a few days, but live-in and respite caregivers in Kitchener should still err on the side of caution when caring for seniors with head injuries.
Rest the Body and Mind
For many years, it was believed a person had to stay awake for at least 24 hours after a concussion, but this recommendation has changed in recent times. If the concussion is severe, your loved one’s doctor will likely suggest emergency care. Mild concussions typically require only 2 or 3 days of rest, which includes plenty of sleep and as little stimulation as possible.
Avoid Certain Substances
Unless the doctor has given your loved one a list of safe medications to take, most over-the-counter painkillers and NSAIDs should be avoided. Medications such as these can dilate your loved one’s blood vessels and increase his or her risk of brain hemorrhages. Your loved one should also avoid alcohol, tobacco products, stimulants like caffeine, and any other products that can affect the cardiovascular system.
Take Care of Lingering Discomfort
Discomfort is a completely natural symptom of a concussion, but it should never be debilitating. Your loved one should be able to sleep somewhat comfortably and resume all of his or her regular daily activities within a few days. For minor headaches, the doctor may recommend a mild dose of acetaminophen and an ice pack to keep the discomfort at bay. If secondary problems such as vomiting or a fever occur, take your loved one to the emergency room as soon as possible.
If your loved one has had a concussion or other brain injury and needs help during recovery, reach out to KW Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained caregivers are available 24/7 to assist with tasks like cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping, and we also offer Parkinson’s, dementia, and stroke home care Kitchener families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (519) 954-2111 to schedule a free in-home consultation.