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Seven Tips for People Who Care for Brain Injury Victims

Caregiving for a brain injury patient can be difficult over the long term

You aren’t the one with a brain injury. You are not suffering the physical side effects of the brain injury, but make no mistake about it: you are in a difficult position. Your life has been changed and you are now responsible for taking care of someone who has been seriously injured. Knowing what to do for your injured friend or relative can help your loved one, you, and your entire family during this difficult time.

Know How to Support Your Loved One

As you work through your loved one’s recovery, it is important to:

  • Watch for behavior problems and work with your loved one’s doctors and therapists to address them. There are ways to handle aggressive behavior; however, if anyone’s safety is in immediate jeopardy, then you should seek emergency help.
  • Try not to compare your loved one to how he or she was prior to the accident.
  • Try not to be offended by inappropriate emotional responses.
  • Stay calm. Your loved one, and the rest of your family, may be looking to you for clues about how to behave.
  • Encourage your loved one to follow doctors’ orders and attend all appointments.
  • Have your loved one write down as much as possible to compensate for memory loss.
  • Establish structure and have a predictable routine. This can keep your loved one calm and help him adjust to his current situation.

None of this is easy, but all of it is important.

Know How to Take Care of Yourself

Your loved one needs help, and it might feel like you are being selfish if you take care of yourself. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you won’t be able to care for your loved one. Accordingly, it is important to stay healthy and focused so that you can care for yourself and your loved one. To that end, you may build a team of support among friends, relatives, and professionals, you may take time away, and you may continue to pursue your own work and hobbies.

Brain injuries are difficult for everyone, but your loved one is lucky to have you at his or her side.

 

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham