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Post-Concussion Syndrome in the Elderly

Post-Concussion Syndrome in the Elderly

Post-concussion syndrome, or persistent post-concussive symptoms, occurs when symptoms of a concussion last beyond the typical recovery period. After a concussion, symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and trouble with sleep, memory, and/or concentration typically clear up in about two to three weeks. In post-concussion syndrome, these symptoms can last for several weeks or months.

Concussions in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can occur from a bump or hit to the head, with or without loss of consciousness. In nursing home and assisted living facilities, falls are the leading cause of concussions.

Though serious, most concussions are not life-threatening. Treatment usually includes physical and mental rest, pain relief, and a gradual return to normal activity levels.

Unfortunately, nursing home staff and other healthcare providers sometimes miss or overlook symptoms of concussions in elderly individuals, especially because they are similar to symptoms of dementia and normal aging.

Recognizing Post-Concussion Syndrome in Nursing Home Residents

Any time an elderly person hits their head, it is important to seek medical attention to evaluate for concussions, brain bleeds, and other issues. Caregivers must be attuned to nursing home residents’ physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral symptoms, especially when a resident has suffered a known concussion or was not evaluated after a previous blow to the head.

If an elderly person has some of the following symptoms more than one month following a head injury, they may have post-concussion syndrome:

Physical symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues
  • Fatigue
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Cognitive symptoms

  • Trouble with memory or concentration
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Other sleep disturbances

Emotional/behavioral symptoms

  • Withdrawal from activities
  • New sadness or depression
  • Irritability, anxiety or heightened emotions
  • Social isolation
  • Change in appetite

Post-concussion syndrome can have major, long-lasting effects on an elderly person’s lifestyle and wellbeing. However, recovery is possible when caregivers recognize and act upon post-concussive symptoms. Depending on an individual’s symptoms, various medications and therapies are available to help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

Lawyer discussing post-concussion syndrome case for elderly client at desk with judge mallet, scales pens and notepads.

Did Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Play a Role in Your or Your Loved One’s Post-Concussion Syndrome?

The physical, emotional, and financial costs of post-concussion syndrome can add up quickly, but you and your family are not alone. Depending on the specific circumstances, you may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit against the nursing home or assisted living facility.

You may be entitled to compensation if the initial concussion was caused by nursing home negligence ⸺ for example, if a resident fell and hit his head due to a hazard in the nursing home. You may also be able eligible for compensation if caregivers failed to identify and seek treatment for the concussion and/or for symptoms that persisted for several weeks or more after the concussion.

The Peck Law Group has more than five decades of combined experience navigating and achieving results in California courtrooms. With a free case evaluation, our nursing home abuse and neglect experts can help you weigh your legal options. Call 866-999-9085 or fill out the form on our site to get started.

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney Steven Peck
Steven Peck

About the Author

Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.


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