Ways Family Can Help a Loved One with a Brain Injury
Helping Others Understand a Brain Injury
It pains you to see your loved one struggle with the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). You want to help him or her in any way possible, but you just don’t know what to do. Due to your profound sense of empathy and love for this person, you may feel overwhelmed by the task. Your greatest fear at the moment is that your support is inadequate.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Your presence alone helps a lot. By showing your loved one you truly care, you are doing wonders for his or her mental and emotional health. However, you want to assist in other ways and make your loved one as comfortable as possible without overstepping your boundaries. The recommendations below will help you care for your loved one once he or she has returned home:
Restore Structure and Normalcy
- Establish and maintain a daily routine.
- Make sure all the items your loved one needs are within easy reach.
- Let him or her rest often.
- Involve him or her in family activities and conversation even if he or she cannot speak.
- Keep a calendar of activities visible on the wall and cross off days as they pass.
- Keep a photo album with labeled pictures of family members, friends, and familiar places.
Be Considerate and Respectful
- Don’t express overly optimistic sentiments on a frequent basis, but do point out every gain your loved one has made since the onset of the injury.
- Don’t talk down to him or her.
- Respect his or her likes and dislikes regarding food, fashion, entertainment, and so on.
- Avoid admonishing him or her for small accidents and mistakes.
- If your loved one has memory issues, explain an activity in simple terms before you begin and review each step in more detail as you go.
- Allow only a few visitors at a time.
- Don’t speak over each other.
- Use simple language.
- Keep your voice soft and calm.
- Present only one thought or command at a time and wait patiently for a response.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Keep stimulation to one sense (hearing, sight, and touch) at a time.
For more advice, talk to the therapists and nurses providing care. They can instruct you on ways to be of further help to your loved one, whether it’s physically, mentally, or emotionally.
How NOT to Talk with a Brain Injury Survivor
Things You Should Not Say To Brain Injury Survivors
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) eludes even the leading neuroscientists of the world, much less the average layman. It’s okay to occasionally feel confused or frustrated when caring for someone who has this complex condition.
What’s NOT okay is to offer unsolicited opinions or advice, or to snap out of frustration. If you find yourself saying any of the following things to a TBI survivor, step back and reevaluate yourself because you’re probably acting out of line:
“Stop being lazy”
No TBI survivor chooses to be depressed, fatigued, or apathetic. These are all common symptoms of brain injury. Rather than talking your loved one down, be a strong advocate for his or her recovery and take an active role in finding a solution.
“I don’t see what the issue is”
Some symptoms of TBI – memory issues, trouble focusing, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. – may be invisible, but they are real just the same. Don’t invalidate your loved one’s pain just because you can’t see what’s going on. Be empathetic and acknowledge the difficulty of his or her situation.
“Why do you always forget what I tell you?”
Yes, it’s frustrating to repeat yourself over and over, but could you imagine how frustrating it would be to constantly forget things due to a brain injury? Instead of getting irritated, find ways to help your loved one out. Simplify the task. Create a reminder system. Establish routines.
In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, irritability is common in people with TBI. Again, not a choice. That being said, it’s very difficult to deal with someone who is constantly moody or angry. Thankfully, there are treatments available that can help to reduce irritability.
“You don’t appreciate everything I do for you”
Your loved one is probably well aware of your sacrifice, and would do anything to not be a burden to you or anyone else. Or he or she may simply not have the capacity to understand the situation. If you need to ventilate, do it with someone else you trust, like a good friend, family member or even a therapist.
Has your loved one sustained his or her brain injury in an accident caused by another party? If so, contact Wilshire Law Firm for immediate assistance. We can get you relief for your financial troubles from medical bills and other damages. To receive a comprehensive evaluation of your best legal options, call us today at (866) 344-0588. We offer FREE consultations.
7 Things Brain Injury Survivors Want You To Know
#1 Don’t take me for being lazy.
I know I rest a lot more than the average person, but please understand, my brain injury makes thinking more strenuous, difficult, and tiring.
#2 Just because I sometimes avoid social situations does not mean I’m antisocial.
I’m very sensitive to outside stimuli. A busy room can feel and sound like a battlefield. If you truly care for me, please don’t invalidate my experience with your assumptions.
#3 I may appear bored in conversations involving multiple people. But trust me, I’m not.
I am actually trying my very best to keep track of the conversation. It’s just that my brain gets overloaded from all the information that is being exchanged.
#4 If I tell you to stop talking, don’t get offended.
I’m not annoyed at you. I’m not uninterested in the subject. I just need to give my mind a rest. Understand that there is only so much information I can process in one sitting. We can resume our conversation later, when I’ll be less anxious and more attentive.
#5 Please bear with me if I lash out or otherwise get emotional.
I may be frustrated, in pain, fatigued, or there may be too much confusion or noise for my brain to filter.
#6 Please let me finish my thoughts when I talk, even if it feels like I’m “taking forever.”
By exercising patience, and by not interrupting me, you’ll actually be helping me become better at processing and articulating my thoughts.
#7 Please don’t treat me like a child.
When it comes to thinking, talking, and doing, I may take longer than most. But that doesn’t mean I’m dumb. My brain injury is as real as any broken bone. Be considerate of my situation and treat me with respect.
Contact our California Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers Now!
If you are seeking legal help because the injury was caused by another party, please don’t hesitate to contact Wilshire Law Firm for immediate assistance. Our experienced California brain injury attorneys can get you the compensation you need to cover damages such as past and future medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. To learn more about what our firm can do for you and your family, call us today at (866) 344-0588. We offer FREE consultations.