Traumatic brain injury is defined as brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, usually a violent blow to the head. TBIs commonly stem from car accidents and sports injuries.
Help a Family Member with a Traumatic Brain Injury

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Traumatic brain injury can result in the following symptoms:
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding language
  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Impulsiveness
TBIs don’t just alter life for their victims; they can also have a profound effect on the victim’s family members. If someone in your family has sustained a TBI, here are some tips for helping your loved one and yourself. Help for the TBI Sufferer: Make sure they get adequate rest. Rest plays an important role in TBI recovery, so do all you can to help your loved one get enough rest for their mind and body. This may include keeping them away from loud noises and crowded places. Don’t give false expectations. It may be natural to say things like, “You’ll be better before you know it” in an effort to be encouraging. However, this can overwhelm your loved one and make them feel pressured to recover faster than they are able. Highlight their gains. Your family member is likely to feel discouraged about the journey ahead, so help them celebrate each accomplishment and milestone. Treat your family member like you always have. Your family member’s abilities may have changed. They may be dealing with speech loss or memory problems. Try not to baby them or make them feel like a different person than they once were—this can make them feel even more displaced at a volatile time. Include them. While it’s important for your loved one to rest, you shouldn’t exile them to the bedroom. Include them in family activities and conversations, even if they can only handle little bits at a time. Give them a schedule. TBI sufferers can feel a complete loss of control in their lives as their health problems stretch out without an end in sight. You can add some control back by having them help you craft a schedule and posting it where they can see it. This helps to remind them of what they have accomplished and what they have to look forward to in the coming days and weeks. Help for family members Family members of TBI sufferers report the following:
  • Less time for themselves
  • Greater financial burdens
  • A changed role/relationship with the TBI sufferer
  • Lack of support and understanding of what they are going through
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Anxiety and fear for the future
  • Feelings of loss, anger, guilt, and frustration
If you are experiencing any of these things, recognize that you are not alone. As they say, don’t feel bad for feeling bad; understand that this is a difficult situation and it’s natural to be dealing with these circumstantial and emotional struggles. Though you may not be able to hasten your loved one’s recovery, you can do things to make your life easier in the meantime. Consider these ideas: Make time for yourself. This may seem counterintuitive. After all, you have less time in your life now that you’re spending more time taking care of your loved one. However, if you don’t schedule in at least some “me time” on a regular basis, you’re likely to burn out and be less effective in your caregiver role. “Me time” will differ from person to person. It could be going to dinner with a friend, watching a favorite television show, soaking in a bubble bath, or taking a walk. Exercise. Few things are as helpful for stress reduction as exercise. Take time for a brisk walk, a jog, or some weight lifting—even if it’s only 20 minutes a day. You’ll return from your workout feeling refreshed and with a better perspective on life. Don’t try to solve everything at once. Depending on the severity of your loved one’s injury, you may be feeling overwhelmed by a barrage of medical appointments and therapies. Now’s the time for prioritization. Decide which issues must be dealt with right away and which can wait. Write out a plan accordingly. You have a finite amount of time and resources so know your limits, and don’t feel badly if you can’t get to everything at once. Be flexible. This is probably new territory for you, so you can’t expect to get everything right the first time. Identify problems and try out solutions. If they don’t work, don’t be afraid to scrap them and try another plan. Be patient with the trial and error process. Be assertive in asking for help. If your time is now devoted to caring for an injured family member, you probably can’t meet all the responsibilities you once could. Don’t be shy about asking other family members or friends to step up. People are often willing to do more, but they can’t if you don’t articulate your needs. If your loved one was injured due to the negligence of others, contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer. They can direct you to the best medical specialists and help you understand all relevant laws and how they apply to your case. They can also ensure that you and your loved one get adequate compensation for the damages from the injury—including medical bills, loss of wages, loss of capacity, pain and suffering, etc.