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Traumatic brain injuries in older people

Michigan’s older population, as well as elders throughout the country, are at risk for personal injury. Certain issues increase that risk, such as a business or property owner who does not set up warning signs if there’s a wet floor or reckless drivers who blow through red lights or consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel. If you’re 65 or older or have a loved one in this age group, it’s important to learn about traumatic brain injuries (TBI), one of the most common injuries in the older population.

The number one cause of brain trauma in older people is slips and falls. Car accidents are the second most common issue that often results in traumatic brain injuries in the 65-and-older generation. In fact, medical teams in emergency rooms have reported more than 80,000 admissions per year of TBI patients who are 65 or older.

Men suffer more traumatic brain injuries than women

While women in the older population are in the hospital with injuries more often than men, the latter group reportedly suffers more traumatic brain injuries than the former. One study also showed that nearly 10% of participants (who were all members of the older population) had been taking a specific medication prior to suffering TBI. Injuries were more severe in this group, and the mortality rate was higher than it was for older people who had brain injuries but did not take the same medication as the others.

For those with dementia or similar conditions, recovery may take longer

Data shows that older people who have neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, take longer to recover from TBI than elders who do not have cognition-associated diseases. Approximately 30% to 80% of patients ages 55 and beyond do not survive TBI. These percentages are much lower in younger patients.

If someone else’s negligence caused TBI for you or your family member

If a careless or reckless driver or negligent property owner cause an accident that results in traumatic brain injuries to a member of the older population, Michigan law allows the recovering patient, or an immediate family member of a fatally injured patient, to seek restitution in civil court. If evidence shows that the defendant failed to fulfill a duty of care due to negligence, and that negligence resulted in the plaintiff’s (or family member of the plaintiff’s) injuries, the court can order the defendant to pay compensation for damages.