Taking care of a loved one who’s undergone a traumatic brain injury can be easier to manage when armed with education and insight. The recommendations below, courtesy of the Salt Lake City home care professionals at Harmony Home Health & Hospice, can minimize stress and frustration for both family caregivers and traumatic brain injury survivors.
- Recovering Takes Time: Recovery for a person with a brain injury usually takes years. Although the person may appear to be recovered on the outside, some days will be better than others, and pushing the person too hard can contribute to setbacks. Stay patient and try to avoid negativity.
- Examine Things from a Different Perspective: Try to put yourself in the shoes of the individual with the brain injury, and look at situations through his or her eyes and capabilities.
- Utilize Structure: A structured day is often essential to recovery because it can help the individual re-train the brain and determine what to expect during the course of the day.
- Patience Is Essential: Allow the person to finish tasks at his or her own pace to help rebuild autonomy. Utilize patience in listening, allowing the person to finish communicating without interrupting, even if it takes time to find the words. This helps the person relearn communicating abilities.
- It’s Ok to Provide Assistance, But Avoid Doing: If the person seems to get “stuck” in an activity or is repeating actions, he or she may simply need to have a little help processing information. Steer clear of taking over the task, but instead provide straightforward tips. Sometimes, those with brain injuries will need to finish a task in a very particular order as they retrain their brains.
- Offer Plenty of Opportunities for Rest: An individual with a brain injury requires more rest than normal. It is not because of laziness. It is strenuous for the person to process and manage thoughts, specifically when tired.
- Remain Alert During Social Situations: Crowded areas or parties can be stressful with too many conversations and loud noises occurring. Remember that it might be too much to process and the person may benefit from a break.
- Never Treat the Person Like a Child: Be sure you never talk down to the person. Even though you may just want to assist, it can appear belittling.
- Managing Difficult Behaviors: It’s very important to figure out what caused a behavior. Was the person fatigued? Did too much noise result in anxiety? Was a particular routine broken? If possible, prevent those triggers to help avoid the problem behaviors.
- Be Sensitive to Powerful Feelings: Recognize that the person may become more irritated or agitated, or might be more sensitive than before the injury. Keep in mind that many things which used to be second nature now require a great deal of effort to accomplish.
- Provide Hope and Motivation: Celebrate every accomplishment. Every moment of advancement, however small, is a success. New developments and stories of healing are occurring every day. No one person’s recovery is just like another.
- Get Support: You never should be your loved one’s sole support team. The person will benefit from a range of specialists and online or local support groups. Additionally, as a family caregiver, it’s important that you realize how stressful life can be and find support services for yourself as well.
Harmony Home Health & Hospice can provide specialized care for those who’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury. Contact us at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322) for a trusted partner in Salt Lake City home care services.