Five Ways to Support a Survivor of Traumatic Brain Injury
May 21, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
TBI (traumatic brain injury) can have profound and long lasting impacts you the life of the survivor of the injury and on their friends and family. Symptoms can range from physical impairments, to emotional difficulties, to cognitive impairment. Anger, depression, appetite loss and memory loss are common. These are compounded by the fact that there is usually little to no outward sign of disability – strangers don’t have a visual cue (such as a cane or walker) to be more patient, helpful, or understanding.
TBI is commonly caused by sports injury, car accident, physical assault or in war. Survivors often struggle to ‘find’ the person who is lost inside them. The ‘new normal’ can be difficult to accept and to live with. Survivors often struggle with social cues, feel overwhelmed in larger groups of people, and are even left out of activities by friends and family who also struggle with how to deal with their loved one.
There are things that you can do to help make the life of someone with TBI more fulfilling.
- Include them in friend group/family activities. Offer to pick them up and bring them to appropriate activities. Take them for a hike, or fishing, or to mini golf. Do something they enjoyed before they were injured. Did they like to do yoga before the accident? Try that. Activity is good for everyone and those who have TBI often find it hard to initiate or get to activities. Make sure to respect their limitations when you select an outing.
- If they can’t leave the home then make sure you visit them often. If they cannot speak or move well that does not mean they don’t appreciate having you visit or that they don’t feel your presence. Bring some music they liked and play it while you are there. Try watching a video with them and see whether they enjoy it. Talk about the old times, reminisce about your friendship or connection. It’s ok for you to fee uncomfortable at first. It is difficult for your friend too.
- Offer to help them or their caregiver often and genuinely.
- Be conscious of the fact that your friend or loved one may look like they used to but may be subject to unpredictable emotional outbursts or other behaviors. These aren’t your fault and they aren’t the fault of the survivor. It is the fault of the brain injury.
- Remember to be physical with your friend or loved one. If they are comfortable with it hug them, hold their hand, brush their hair if that brings them comfort. Above all be genuine. The power of touch to soothe and heal cannot be underestimated.
If you are living with a loved one or friend with TBI you will need to be open to the fact that they may have changed but the person you care for is still there, and needs your support more than ever.
|Posted under Accident Benefit News, Brain Injury, Concussion Syndrome, traumatic brain injury
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About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.