How to Help Your Loved One Cope with a Brain Injury

It goes without saying that brain trauma is devastating not only for victims but also for their loved ones. TBIs can impact mood, demeanor, and personality as well as cognitive and physical abilities.

If a member of your family has sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may be wondering how to help him or her cope. While each accident victim has different needs, there are a few general steps you can take to improve their quality of life:

1. Implement an Organizational System

Since memory loss is a fairly common side effect of TBI, those who sustain head injuries may find it hard to stay organized. For example, they might miss appointments, lose important items, or forget how to complete simple tasks.

To help your loved one stay on track, you can create a digital calendar that sends daily reminders to his or her phone or email. You may also want to label cabinets, closets, and drawers and write out the steps for completing the tasks that he or she finds the most challenging.

2. Get out of the House

It’s normal for those who are recovering from TBI to isolate themselves. If they’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or depression, for example, they will undoubtedly want to stay home. Since isolation can worsen such symptoms, though, it’s important that they get out of the house and socialize with friends or partake in favorite hobbies.

3. Establish a Predictable Routine

Traumatic brain injuries can make virtually everything feel unfamiliar, which is an incredibly unsettling experience. Friends and family members can help accident victims ease back into everyday life by establishing a schedule for them.

Naturally, this is much easier to do if you actually live with the injured party. Even if you don’t, you can stop by at the same time every day to assist with chores. You can also set alarms on your loved one’s phone so he or she knows when to perform certain tasks. Providing some sense of structure will ultimately help reduce the stress associated with the unpredictability of recovery.

4. Handle All the Little Tasks

Instead of asking what your loved one needs, take it upon yourself to handle everything from shopping for groceries to doing the dishes and cleaning the home. If you take over as much as you reasonably can—and hire someone to handle what you can’t—your loved one can focus solely on rehabilitation.