Just as the name implies, a TBI is an injury to the brain, and it can have such a daunting effect on the person involved.
Brain injury can change the affected person’s physical ability, the way they think, feel and behave; it changes their personality altogether. The effects of TBI can last several months or longer.
Friends and family may not know how to deal with this. You may not understand why your loved one has changed, which might have a damaging effect on your relationship with them.
If you are worried for your loved one who’s had a TBI, below are the things you should practically do to help deal with it:
1. Learn about brain injury
- Learn about brain injury and its effects on affected people, so you can speak to your loved one about which effects they experience.
- Don’t forget your loved one might appear well and functioning one day and still struggle another day. This is because the effects of TBI can fluctuate daily.
- Learn about the different coping mechanisms that can help your loved one manage the effects of TBI well.
2. You Should Encourage Your Loved One To Seek Professional Support
- Encourage your loved one to reach out to the nearest care and rehabilitation facility after a traumatic brain injury.
- Encourage them to seek legal representation. A TBI attorney like Pius Joseph is obliged to help TBI survivors manage legal complexities they might face as they try to compensate for their injury.
- If you fear your loved one is feeling depressed, let them know that you are there for them to listen to them. Encourage them to seek assistance from other family/friends or a professional.
- If the quality of life of your loved one is affected by the ongoing effects of their injury, encourage them to seek help from their local adult social care institutions or a general practitioner.
3. How You Should Look Out For Your Loved One
- Attend rehabilitation sessions with your loved one, and ask the rehabilitation team if there are activities you can help your loved one with.
- Offer to help when needed, but do not assume they cannot do things by themselves.
- If you have suspected that your friend lacks intuition, you should consider speaking with their partner, other friends, or family.
4. You Should Offer Practical Support From Time To Time
- If they have little children, you can offer to care and look after the children, maybe for a few hours on some days.
- When getting them gifts, you should consider getting things that will practically help their condition. A personal organizer or a journal will go a long way to help them deal with memory loss.
- You can help them to get things done: like; getting groceries, shopping, cooking, or filling forms, and so on are thoughtful things you can help them with.
5. When Engaging In Normal Activities After Their Injury
- Include them in group activities, don’t make them feel left out. Make the activities fun and enjoyable for everyone in the group, including the survivor.
- Have it in mind that they will usually suffer from fatigue when they start engaging in normal activities. Consider keeping your outings with them short. Encourage them to take enough rest before and after outings.
- You could set a particular time and day for activities you engage in together. This would be helpful if they have difficulties with organizing and planning, or retaining information.
- There will be times they would cancel on a plan at the last minute, try not to get upset. They might not socialize as much as they used to before they got injured, although it will be a bit hard for you, you should try not to take offense.
- They might find it difficult to cope in a noisy or busy environment, try going to a more quiet place or you could visit one another’s house.
- Even though you cannot tell them whether or not to drink, you can tell them that alcohol will worsen the effects of their injury. Try planning activities that do not involve drinking alcohol.
- Take permission beforehand to know whether it’s okay to talk about their brain injury to other people when you are out.
- Talk about their progress to them. Recognize and tell them that they have done great with rehabilitating. This would improve their self-esteem. When they see that all of the work they’ve put into managing their injury leads to real improvement, they will be more motivated to go on with rehabilitation.
Putting all of these into practice will help secure your relationship with them and create new memories together and help with their overall recovery from their injury. For TBI survivors, love and support from friends, family, work colleagues, school colleagues, and so on can be a lifesaver.