It can be a stressful period of anyone’s life when a loved one suffers with a head injury. For them, it can be completely life transforming, and it’s a similar story for loved ones who are required to support, emotionally, physically and practically.

Brain injury care at home can be difficult, for loved ones, but there are ways that you can help and make the process towards recovery that bit smoother. So, if you’re living with a loved one who has suffered a brain injury, here are some top tips for looking after them…

Understanding Head Injuries

First and foremost, understanding head injuries is an important first step. Seeking support from professionals is a must and they’ll help you in realising the different severities of such injuries and how best to tailor care to suit them. 

Understanding how people can be affected by head injuries is important. There may be physical impairments, speech difficulties, changes in personality and more, so understanding this can be useful in knowing what to expect.

Creating a Safe Environment

When it comes to caring, the number one priority needs to be creating a safe environment. Remove potential hazards, such as loose rugs, cluttered walkways and sharp furniture edges and make any accessibility adjustments to make life easier for them, such as grab bars or stairlifts, if required. 

There is help out there for affording this, with numerous grants and funding out there to help, which is well worth looking into.

Managing Cognitive Challenges

Cognitive impairments are common after receiving a head injury and various aspects of the brain can be affected, from memory to attention span, problem solving and more. To help with this, it can be useful to take the following steps:

  • Establish Routines: Create a structured daily routine to provide stability and reduce confusion.
  • Use Memory Aids: Utilise calendars, alarms, and reminder notes to help with memory issues.
  • Simplify Tasks: Break down tasks into smaller, manageable steps to avoid overwhelming your loved one.
  • Encourage Rest: Ensure they get plenty of rest as cognitive fatigue is common after a head injury.

Emotional Support

You can’t underestimate the emotional support that is needed for your loved one. It is an incredibly traumatic time and the likes of mood swings, irritability and depression are not uncommon. 

Therefore, you need to pay particular attention to how you emotionally support a loved one, doing so by:

  • Being Patient and Understanding: Recognise that mood changes and emotional outbursts are part of the healing process.
  • Encouraging Open Communication: Allow your loved one to express their feelings and concerns.
  • Seeking Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to seek support from a psychologist or counsellor to help manage emotional difficulties.

Promoting Physical Health

Physical rehabilitation may be necessary to regain strength and coordination. Therapists and counsellors aiding with recovery will provide routines that can help with progress, whether it be stretching, walking and other exercises, while combining that with a healthy diet and ensuring they stay hydrated can go a long way in the physical recovery of a loved one.

Encouraging Social Interaction

Isolation is one of the biggest challenges for those suffering with brain injuries. It can be the first instinct to go into their shell, cut themselves off from society. However, you should encourage social interaction as this can not only boost mood and mental health, but also help with the process of recovery. Taking part in family activities, joining support groups and engaging in hobbies can be a great way to go about this.

Taking Care of Yourself

Finally, caring for someone with a head injury can be demanding, so it’s crucial to look after your own well-being. Make time for yourself, seek support from friends and family, and consider joining a caregiver support group. Taking breaks and managing your stress levels will enable you to provide better care.

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