When you were young, you could handle almost anything. If you took a tumble while riding your bike, you'd just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on with your life.
But as you've grown older, you've become less resilient. Your bones are more brittle than they used to be. If you slip on a wet floor at the grocery store, you could likely break a bone or even suffer a brain injury.
Slip-and-fall accidents are more dangerous for older adults than you might expect. In fact, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. And nearly 80 percent of TBIs, hospitalizations and deaths are suffered by adults over the age of 65.
How does age affect risk?
As you age, your body--and your brain--begin to shrink. The size of your brain has no bearing on your cognition or intellect. However, a smaller brain is more susceptible to damage than a larger one. Your brain is held in place by hair-like structures known as bridging veins, which connect your brain to your skull. As your brain shrinks, the veins must stretch further to support your brain--which makes the veins thinner and weaker. In the event of trauma to the head, these veins are more likely to be damaged and bleed.
Importance of identifying TBI
Since most people don't think of TBI as a likely consequence of a fall, they often fail to look for symptoms. Left unrecognized and untreated, bleeding issues in the brain can be life threatening. If you notice any of the following symptoms following a head injury, get a complete medical evaluation immediately:
- Urinary incontinence
- Difficulty balancing
- Memory problems--or suddenly exacerbated memory problems
If you fall outside of your home due to someone else's negligence, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Therefore, it's important to thoroughly assess any physical or mental injuries you've suffered.