Scientists have known for a while that when a person has a severe concussion, their senses can be temporarily affected. However, a new study now shows that problems like an impaired sense of smell and anxiety can occur even when a concussion is mild.
Head Injuries and the Senses
Researchers at the University of Montreal conducted a study involving 42 people. 20 of them had suffered a mild concussion. The other 22 had sustained another kind of injury, such as a broken bone, but did not have concussions. The researchers found that within 24 hours of having a head injury, about half of the people who had a concussion reported that their sense of smell was not as keen as usual. Only 5 percent of those without concussion reported this same phenomenon. The sense of smell in the concussion patients returned within 6 months to a year. However, they also had a much higher rate of anxiety than did those who did not have a concussion.
The results of this study are important since they provide doctors with additional information about head injuries and anxiety. In fact, they suggest that losing sense of smell may be an important indicator of a concussion. The scientists recommend that those who hurt their heads should tell doctors if they have a reduced sense of smell since it is a symptom doctors rarely ask about.
Ways to Prevent Head Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are a common way that elderly people suffer head injuries. Falls can also cause other severe injuries, such as broken bones. They can even cause disability or death. Therefore, fall prevention is extremely important to the safety of your aging relative. Some ways you can help them to avoid a fall are:
- Have a Checkup: Seniors should be seen by a doctor regularly and have their fall risk assessed. Certain conditions and medications can make a fall more likely. Doctors can suggest additional measures to take to reduce the chances of falling. In addition to a physical exam, seniors should also have their eyes and hearing checked. Poor vision and impaired hearing can also contribute to a fall.
- Fall-Proof the House: Make some changes around the older adult’s house to make falls less likely. Remove loose rugs they can trip over. Add grab bars to the bathroom. Remove clutter from pathways. Repair loose steps and uneven surfaces.
- Stay Physically Active: Staying physically active helps to strengthen muscles and improve balance.
Home care can also help seniors to prevent falls. A home care provider can accompany your aging relative when they go out of the house to hold their arm and ensure they don’t fall. Home care providers can also keep the house clean and keep items the senior may trip over out of walkways. And, home care providers can increase physical activity in older adults by going for walks with them, driving them to an exercise class, or helping them be more active around the house.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.