A person who has suffered a brain injury may experience changes that may affect his or her life, work, and relationships. These changes can be physical, cognitive, or behavioral. Part of recovering from a brain injury is learning how to adjust to these changes, so that everyday life, relationships, and careers can return to the highest level of function possible.
Tips for the Brain-Injured
It can be extremely difficult to realize that tasks and actions that used to come easily to you are difficult. It can also be extremely difficult for a brain-injured person who was formerly very independent to realize that they need support and help. Returning to maximum function takes a large commitment from the brain-injured person. Following these tips can help:
- Keep a record of activities you plan to do, as well as a list of activities you have done.
- If you have a question or are struggling with a task, don’t ask for help until you’ve tried to solve the issue or complete the task yourself. Continuing to try things outside your comfort level will build your cognitive and physical repertoire.
- Be willing to try new things. Don’t rely on the words “I can’t”
- Set realistic goals, and review those goals frequently.
- Ask for help from others when you need it.
- Keep a daily schedule, as predictability and consistency is important during the recovery phase.
- Don’t use drugs or alcohol.
Tips for Friends and Family
The patients family and friends will play a key role in the recovery, rehabilitation, and readjustment process.
- Be aware that the recovery process can be slow and will take time. Don’t expect results overnight.
- Expect setbacks and frustration.
- Help the brain-injured person master simple tasks before they go on to more complex tasks.
- Encourage the brain-injured person to solve problems and complete tasks when able, but always be ready to step in and help when needed.
- As the needs of the patient changes during the recovery process, adjust and adapt to these changes.
- Advocate for the brain-injured person when it comes to medical care, insurance, and life and career issues.