Tips for aging with a brain injury

There are steps you can take to keep yourself as healthy and safe as possible as you age.

Do activities that are engaging and enjoyable

Keeping yourself engaged and entertained is good for your emotional well-being and your brain. This includes hobbies you enjoy, meeting with friends, and anything else that brings you joy. It’s also helpful to complete activities that pose a bit of a challenge. It stimulates your cognitive process, can have physical benefits, and can give you goals to work towards.

Have regular medical checkups

It’s important as we age to have regular medical checkups. Individuals often spend a lot of time in rehabilitation and treatment for brain injury, but the rest of the body needs checkups too. Medical professionals will give you advice on exercise, diet, and other parts of your overall health.

Make sure you’re in an appropriate living situation

In some cases, seniors are not able to live alone or at home. In these cases, long-term care homes may be the most appropriate option. Many long-term care homes are specifically equipped for seniors, making them a safe, and comfortable choice. Many are also equipped for individuals with specific needs, including the effects of brain injury.

If you are moving into a long-term care home or are completing rehabilitation while in a long-term care home, there may be some adjustments you need to make.

  • Establish new routines. Routines are a great way to reinforce memory, familiarize yourself with new places, and stay organized.
  • Create a plan for adjusting to the new environment.
  • Work with healthcare professionals on rehabilitation plans. You may have to complete activities and therapies a little differently in long-term care.

Make sure you’re well-rested

Fatigue is a common effect of brain injury. It’s also common in seniors; it takes more energy to complete actions or tasks. That’s why it’s incredibly important to prioritize a good night’s sleep and listen to your body. Take rests when you need to, and don’t overwork yourself.

Protect yourself from falls

If you struggle with balance or mobility or want to take extra precautions against falls:

  • Arrange furniture so you have plenty of space to walk
  • Avoid putting frequently used items on high shelves
  • Avoid wet, slippery floors, and don’t let water build up on walkways or driveways
  • Clean up any spills or dropped food right away
  • Have plenty of light so you can easily see where you’re going
  • Install gates and handrails on staircases
  • Keep drawers and cabinet doors closed
  • Never stand on a chair, a table, or any surface that has wheels
  • Remove clutter from your walkways outside, and keep the paths inside your home free from tripping hazards (boxes, books, clothes, toys, shoes, unsecured rugs)
  • Secure any cords safely out of the way
  • Wear shoes with good support and slip-resistant bottoms

Stay active within your community

Keep in touch with your friends, family, and community. Go for lunches, participate in community activities, volunteer, and stay in touch through phone calls, emails, and in-person get-togethers. You will reduce your risk of social isolation and cultivate a strong support system.

Take care of your mental and physical health

Staying healthy and active is an important part of aging. This includes eating well, exercising, and taking care of your mental health and wellbeing. There are many ways you can create a healthy lifestyle as you age.

  • Learning new, easy meals to make at home
  • Keep a journal to share your thoughts and feelings
  • Taking daily walks
  • Use appropriate correction equipment for hearing and vision loss. I.e. hearing aids and glasses
  • Use mindful meditation to help clear your mind

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Find practices or activities that make you feel happy and fulfilled and work them into your routines.