Brain injuries can result from a slip and fall, a sports accident, a car accident, or many other things. Even though some of the after-effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) may improve over time, depending upon the severity of the brain injury, one can expect to adjust to a new normal for the rest of their life.
The effects of brain injuries range from minor consequences to more severe and long-lasting conditions. You may experience cognitive consequences, psychological consequences, and physical consequences of a traumatic brain injury. If you’ve been affected by a TBI, the strategies in this article will help you cope.
One way to cope with a brain injury is to use technology to your benefit. Since it may be easy for you to get confused, use a mobile calendar app and reminders on your phone to make appointments and remember them. Take notes about your day-to-day life, especially the things you don’t want to forget. Take notes on a cell phone or use a pencil and paper. A digital recorder can help you stay organized.
Stick to a Routine
Many people find a routine and doing things the same way is boring. But, if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, a routine can help you survive in a busy world. If you have suffered a brain injury, it’s comforting to know what is going to happen next and how to respond. For example, get up at the same time each day. Take a bath and brush your teeth at the same time daily. Prepare checklists and stick to them daily.
Get Plenty of Rest
Make sure you are well-rested. Not just by sleeping at night, but by taking a power nap or two during the day. You should slow down and give yourself plenty of time to review and learn new information.
Allow More Time to Complete Activities
Since a TBI may cause processing and attention problems, there are key things to remember as far as the new you.
- It may be difficult to keep concentrating for an extended period.
- You may have slower processing time of your thoughts.
- You may become confused easily besides the memory issues — especially short-term recall.
Things for you to keep in mind to complete your activities with minimal frustration include limiting the number of steps and using notecards or prompts. Knowing yourself better than anyone else, be sure to give yourself plenty of thinking (processing) time.
Create an Emergency Binder
Whether for you or someone else that has had a TBI, create an emergency binder. For instance, if your son or daughter was in an accident and you were not on the scene, an emergency binder that has the person’s information can really help in an emergency. Things like copies of insurance cards, doctor’s phone number, and current medications and doses can be helpful. Include emergency contact numbers, too.
Because long lists with multi-step instructions can overwhelm a person with a TBI, keep tasks simple. Ample time should be allotted for completing the task. Remember, the person may not have the quality of memory you do. Simplifying chores can give a person with a TBI a sense of self-worth and accomplishment. For instance, remembering to feed a pet or cleanup after a meal can do wonders for a TBI patient.
Simplifying your chores is important when you have a brain injury because it can get confusing when you have multiple things to do, plus you have to remember how to do the chore. This is an area where written checklists come in handy.