Watching your loved one endure a traumatic brain injury can make you feel helpless. You may wish that you could ease the pain and suffering and help restore optimal health.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to help, but going about it the wrong way could hinder recovery efforts and contribute to feelings of inadequacy. Knowing how to provide support may enable you to facilitate a positive and restorative recovery.
Focus on communication
A traumatic brain injury can impact several aspects of your loved one’s ability to communicate. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, you may notice changes to your family member’s personality, as well as his or her emotional response and ability to reason. According to Web MD, severe TBI’s can also trigger cognitive and behavioral disabilities.
Given the circumstances, you may need to modify the way you communicate with your family member. Some suggestions to improve communication include the following:
- Write things down to aid memory recall
- Avoid shouting or speaking too fast
- Embrace repetition
- Have patience and show compassion
Coming to terms with a loss of independence can cause emotional distress for your loved one. It is not abnormal to grieve this loss and to fear the process of adaptation. As you witness your family member experience these challenges, do your best to encourage independence. Help your loved one remember all of the things that are still possible and the potential for growth.
When your family member does something independently, celebrate the accomplishment. Facilitate goal setting and highlight the benefits that result from a single improvement. Your ability to remain optimistic may improve the motivation your loved one has to continue on the path of recovery.