Living With Brain Injury – Checklists for Families on Caregiving

Brain Injury Category >>


Living with a person who has a brain injury means that families now have multiple roles as caregivers as well as being a parent, spouse, sibling or child. These dual roles can be demanding, frustrating, confusing and exhausting. The routines at home must change as families learn how to live with the physical, cognitive, communicative, behavioral and social changes caused by the brain trauma. Caregiving means finding the balance between protecting a person from further injury and encouraging independence. This can feel like a juggling act for caregivers.

The immediate concern is the severity of the injury when a family member is hospitalized. The hardest question for families to ask is whether the person will survive. But once the medical crisis has passed and the person’s condition is stable, then the concerns of families shift to anticipating what this means for their lives and future.

Families soon ask the question, “When can he come home?” This is often followed by concerns about, “How will we manage? Can she be alone? How much supervision and help will he need?”

We all depend on others in some way, whether it is for physical help, emotional support, finances or learning. But once a person has a brain injury, additional help may be needed in other areas. The following checklists help families and caregivers identify the changes caused by the brain injury. This information is useful for discussions with therapists and doctors to determine how much help is needed at home.

Checklist for Caregivers on Living with a Brain Injury

Self Care – These are the basic activities of caring for oneself. How much help does the person need to:

  • take a bath or shower
  • brush teeth
  • use the toilet
  • organize belongings and room
  • find clothing and dress self
  • climb stairs
  • move over varied surfaces such as carpeting or linoleum
  • monitor personal hygiene
  • take medication

Orientation – Getting through the day is not always easy. It takes organizational skills.

  • How much help does the person need to:
  • provide vital data such as age, birthdate, etc.
  • give personal address and telephone number where living
  • give names and telephone numbers for emergencies
  • easily see and read clocks
  • name the day of week and the date

Communication – This is much more than speaking.

  • It is important to observe whether the person can:
  • speak clearly and be understood
  • use the telephone
  • write or print clearly
  • use a computer
  • understand written information

Home Safety – Lots of families and caregivers worry about whether the person can safely stay alone.

  • It is helpful to ask if the person:
  • remembers to lock doors
  • remembers to lock windows
  • knows what to do in case of fire
  • knows what to do in a power failure
  • limits personal information on the telephone or Internet
  • feels comfortable staying home alone

Household – It is helpful for caregivers to ask how much help the person needs to:

  • separate, wash, dry and put away clothing
  • vacuum or sweep carpets or floors
  • determine if food is spoiled
  • plan and prepare a good meal
  • follow steps of a recipe
  • use a stove safely
  • clean up after cooking
  • prepare menus
  • shop for food

Organization - Getting through the day is not always easy. It takes organizational skills.

It is useful to ask if the person:

  • can plan daily tasks and chores
  • make and keep appointments during the day
  • set an alarm clock to get up in morning

Transportation – Just getting places can be challenging for a persons with a disability or any type of impairment. It is important to assess whether the person can:

  • drive a car safely
  • use a public bus or subway
  • travel by plane
  • get and pay for a taxi
  • go for local walks

Tracking Progress

Brain InjuryYou can use these checklists at any stage of the person’s recovery to chart progress, identify improvements, and spot problems. If the person you expect to provide care for has not been discharged yet from the hospital or rehabilitation program, you can share this list with therapists. You can then use it to work together to plan the person’s care, including how much assistance and independence you can expect. It also gives you a starting point to track further progress after the person comes home with you as caregiver.

If you are already caring for or supervising a family member at home, then it is important to include everyone in the discussion. There needs to be agreement among everyone providing care on the individual’s current level of skill and decision making abilities in order to safely promote greater independence.

Marilyn Lash, M.S.W., Lash and Associates Publishing/Training, Inc. has books, pamphlets and information on the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery of traumatic brain injury in children, adults and veterans. For a tip card with more information on Adults Living with Brain Injury by Carolyn Rocchio, Pam Fleming and Erika Mountz, go to

Posted in Brain Injured Caregivers, Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Featured Guest Articles, Tips - Life After Injury or Strokes, Traumatic Brain Injury | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Brain Injury Cognitive Changes After Traumatic Brain Injury Are the Most Challenging

Brain Injury Category Brain Injury


The effects of a traumatic brain injury upon a person’s cognition – the ability to think and learn – can be so overwhelming that the survivor literally struggles to get through each day. Barbara Webster has led hundreds of support groups for the BIA of Massachusetts and is all too familiar with the struggles, frustrations and difficulties of rebuilding your life after a head injury.

She knows first hand what it is like to have your life change dramatically after she escaped from a car crash with what everyone thought were minor injuries. Suddenly she was not able to perform her job or manage her household. Even the most simple tasks such as choosing her clothes in the morning, cooking supper or making a grocery list felt overwhelming and sent her back to bed. The harder she tried, the more stuck and frustrated she became.

Not knowing the cause of her cognitive difficulties, she became so depressed she feared she was going crazy and even contemplated suicide. The night she went to a parents’ meeting at school and heard a guest speaker talk about brain injury was the beginning of turning her life around. She went to her first support group meeting for survivors and realized that her cognitive difficulties might be linked to her earlier car accident and her so called “mild” brain injury. Most importantly, she learned that there was help and support available. Bringing her husband to a support group meeting helped him understand the cause of her difficulties and gave him a new perspective about what was wrong. He realized, “It wasn’t her fault” It was the head injury that was causing her to act and think the way she was.

Barbara Webster’s story is still too common. There is nothing “mild” about a brain injury. Because she only lost consciousness for moments and had no physical injuries after her car crash, her brain injury was not diagnosed until many many months later. After all, she looked fine. But looks can be deceiving.

Brain Injury Consequences

Trauma to the brain can result in a wide variety of physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral changes. But it is the cognitive changes – the ability to process information, problem solve, make decisions, use sound judgment, pay attention and remember events and details – that so often feel overwhelming for the individual. Family members often feel confused, frustrated, and even angered by the changes and can not understand what has happened. It can literally feel like one’s life – all that was known and familiar – has been lost. Finding and reclaiming one’s life starts with the diagnosis of a brain injury. The next step is finding experts and therapists who are experienced and can provide treatment and rehabilitation services, design compensatory strategies, give counseling, and extend support. Recovery is a process and a journey that involves the individual as well as their family. Barbara Webster can attest to the importance of hope, information, support and resources on brain injury in order to find, reclaim and rebuild one’s life.

Marilyn Lash, M.S.W., Lash and Associates Publishing/Training, Inc. Books, pamphlets and information on the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery of traumatic brain injury in children, adults and veterans. For more on living with brain injury, see the book Lost and Found: A survivor’s guide for reconstructing life after brain injury by Barbara Webster, at

Posted in Featured Guest Articles, Tips - Life After Injury or Strokes, Traumatic Brain Injury | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Improving Brain Function of Head Injured and Hemiparesis victims with Simple Brain Games

I am speaking from my own personal experience. Others will need to consult with their own physicians and therapists of course.My own head injury and recovery, well documented and besdides this site with a collection of helpful articles from professionals and even a few of my own…I also can be read in the self improvement arena as you can find me on, where I’m now the mind power expert with mind brain health and success articles , [Click Here to read my bio on self growth, a new window will open] ,

OK, let me summarize briefly my condition of my brain health and how well I’ve recovered. I know everyone is affected differently and I’ve been blessed in my recovery. ( my hemiparesis success story) .

Anyway, It wasnt right away but a couple years after , i was tested with a simple game that checks brain agility, memory, concentration, even brain speed and determines your brain age. Turns out , It said my brain was was close to 70 (I was in my 20s at the time) but the computed calculated my brain age based on slow reaction, slow thinking, inability to speak clearly, and of course solving simple problems or puzzles.

But my age at that time was 40 + years younger. But let me tell you, I was coming up with correct answers but I couldnt vocalize quickly nor move the pen accurately, so while there was a huge issue with cognitive processing, even the connection between mind and hand , eye etc was not there. Of course , I was using my good side to move the stylus . No way could I uee my weak side at the time. I mean I can use it for grasping large objects but just not the fine dexterity like the good side or should I just say better side as the tips of all my fingers just dont have the sensitivity they used to.

But first let me showe you how I went from 70 tol 30 in brain age. I optimized every aspect of brain health and improvement I could access of course butr simple brain games helped immensely. YOu can statr by getting easy puzzles even at the grocery store. I think I statred out with large mazes for little kids, I mean preschool puzzles, really.

After awhile I progressed and found that there had been a game played on Nintendo ds that was benefitting people of all ages but especiall aging adults who needed to keep their brain health, speed, memory, concentration, more of course.

So  I figure, what could it hurt? I could get aggravatyed if I could do anything but my one hand wasnt too bad , so I got a nintendo and Brain Age. I got mine at Walmart but they are all around.

Heres a ;link to Amazon where you can get a good deal and even get used ones if they are in stock/

I also saw a great idea for Hand and Arm Rehabilitation System on a video from You Tube

You can Watch the Hand and Arm Rehabilitation System  video,



You can view some

Hemiparesis rehab videos here

Leon Edward


This helped me with focus and concentration but indivuals and caretakers need to check with their doctor.

Posted in My Life After Injury Blog, Tips - Life After Injury or Strokes, Treatment of Brain Injury | Leave a comment

Adaptive Clothing for Stroke Patients [Hemiparesis]

Adaptive Clothing


After having a stroke, one may experience hemiplegia or hemiparesis which causes weakness on one side of the body. As a result of this weakness, the stroke patient may have great difficulty with getting dressed. While in a rehabilitation center, stroke patients and caregivers may learn hemiplegic dressing techniques which focus on using the unaffected arm and leg to perform dressing. Such techniques focus on placing the weak arm and leg into clothing first and using the strong hand to pull clothing over the paralyzed extremities. Other techniques to help with dressing may involve using adaptive equipment such as a dressing stick. With severe disability, getting dressed or undressed can sometimes become too difficult even with hemiplegic dressing techniques or special equipment. There is a solution for this dilemma. The answer for problematic dressing is adaptive clothing or clothing for the disabled. This type of clothing is designed to make it easier for caregivers to assist a patient when getting dressed. Adaptive clothing and apparel is easier to use because of adaptations such as the following:

Adaptive Clothing :

* Velcro or snap closures rather than buttons
* Designs which allow a person to get dressed from a seated position
* Zippers located in the front of clothing
* Front closing bras
* Velcro on shoes
* Open back clothing
* Wrap skirts
* Side-opening pants.

There are also clothing and accessory items that assist with safety and cleanliness such as non-skid socks, arm protectors, and protective bibs. Another important aspect of clothing made for the disabled is that it can accommodate for problems like swelling or poor circulation. It also allows for quick changes when bowel or bladder incontinence is an issue. Even pants can be changed from a seated position without standing. Adaptive clothing is not only convenient but is offered in fashionable styles that will allow the stroke patient to feel inconspicuous. This is important to help preserve the dignity of stroke patients who do not want to be stuck wearing hospital gowns or peculiar clothing items that draw attention.

Adaptive clothing is comparable in price to regular clothing and can be purchased at several online websites. Two such online venues are and Silvert’s website (based out of Ontario, Canada) offers a catalog with clothing recommendations for stroke patients as well as dressing tips to use with the Silvert adaptive clothing line. Buck & Buck has been manufacturing adaptive clothing for over 33 years and is based in Seattle, Washington. If you are a stroke patient experiencing problems with dressing each day or a caregiver having difficulty helping a loved one get dressed, it is worth your while to check into adaptive clothing.

Karen Murray, Occupational Therapist

Article Source:
Posted in Adaptive Clothing - Hemiparesis and Stroke, Featured Guest Articles, Stroke Caregivers, Stroke Rehabilitation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stroke Recovery Tips to Prepare Your Home For a Stroke Patient

Stroke Recovery Stroke Recovery

Having a loved one suffer from a stroke is a frightening experience, leaving you with a feeling of utter helplessness. Preparing for the stroke recovery journey is as equally important for the caregiver as the patient. Many questions will arise during this time of how to care for your family member once they are allowed to leave the hospital. Opening your home to care for them and creating a loving safe environment will play a huge part in the healing process.

To well equip your home, you have to consider each room. How is the layout? How safe is it? What is the comfort level? Are there too many patterns in each room that will confuse them? A patient going through stroke recovery will require patience and assistance with the most simple activities. A one story house would be ideal as all the rooms have easy access. A special lift or elevator would be needed in a two story home if the patient has to have access to the second floor. Safety proofing a house can be overwhelming. It’s important to take it one room at a time. In the patients room consider putting a movement sensitive, non-glaring light and railings for added support in certain areas. Since your loved one will be in wheelchair, de-clutter your home to make room for easy movement and consider the height of light switches and door handles. Carpet may have to be removed to avoid tripping. You may try a thin carpet or tile for added safety.

During stroke recovery many patients suffer with loss of sight.

Make visual alerts around your home for them to recognize. Consider painting the hot water faucets red. Also, place fun stickers on windows and glass doors. Medicine safety is very important. Make sure the medicine cabinet is well lit and all labels are easy to read. Install a phone with large numbering. A portable phone with speed dial is best. For more questions, your local phone company can advise you on a “special needs” phone. Loss of balance is evident after a stroke and bath time can dangerous. Place a rubber mat at the bottom of the bath as well as a grab rail to steady them on their feet. Replacing a curtain or glass shower with durable plastic will add peace of mind.

Providing stroke recovery for your loved one can be a long term process and quite exhausting. Take time for yourself as well. Renew your mind and refresh your spirit because the healthier you are, the better care they will receive. Join a group of other caregivers to talk about experiences and do not feel ashamed to ask for help from other family members. Your love and patience during their recovery will teach you how strong you are and how selfless you can be.

Stroke medicine that compliments your stroke rehabilitation program. Find out more. Feel free to publish this article on your website, or send it to your friends, as long as you keep the resource box and the content of the article intact.

Posted in Featured Guest Articles, Stroke Caregivers, Stroke Rehabilitation, Tips - Life After Injury or Strokes | Leave a comment

Practical Tips For Stroke Patients and Their Caregivers

When someone you love has a stroke, your biggest concern is taking care of them in the best way possible. While it is possible for stoke recovery to take place, there are many times when things seem to be different. To take the necessary safety precautions in the home so as to prevent stroke patients from getting injured, there are many tips available that can help you as you begin to take on the role of caregiver.

Once someone has a stroke, they will need to have a few things changed at home in order to make their return safe with accessibility in mind. For the stroke patient who is wheelchair bound, automatic doorways might need to be installed as well as a ramp for easy access into the home. Doorways will need to be at least 32″ wide and there should be a 24″ clearance from the door on landings. By switching the traditional doorknobs to the lever variety, you can be sure that accessibility is not a problem during stroke recovery.

Upon considering the changes that will need to be made in the home environment, you might find that it is helpful to remove pieces of furniture that are no longer needed, especially if they are creating a cluttered space. Since lighting is often a concern, be sure to use automatic night-lights and plenty of lighting that is in-direct with no glare. Along with the necessary lighting to prevent tripping and falling in lowly lit areas, be sure to tack down rugs, cords, and anything else that could be tripped on in the home.

While all of these tips are great for safety within the home, there are a few other items that can be considered in order to make things seem a little nicer for the patient going through stroke recovery. Since a great deal of time may be spent within the bedroom, be sure to make it bright and cheery in color and lighting. A great way to add some much needed relaxation and distraction to the room is with an aquarium or photos of family and friends on a bulletin board. Keeping everything that may be needed within reach of the bed is a good idea, so consider using a bed organizer that can hold tissues, flashlights, remote controls, or anything else that might be needed for the patient while in bed.

Although there are many things that will need to be considered for the stroke patient coming home for stroke recovery, these few tips can help you start the process. As you continue your role as caregiver, you will likely find a few other things that can be done in order to increase the overall safety and accessibility of the home.

Stroke treatment medicine that compliments your stroke rehabilitation program. Find out more.

Feel free to publish this article on your website, or send it to your friends, as long as you keep the resource box and the content of the article intact.

Posted in Featured Guest Articles, Stroke Rehabilitation, Tips - Life After Injury or Strokes | Leave a comment

Traumatic Brain Injury – 10 Facts You Need to Know!

Traumatic Brain Injury Category Traumatic Brain Injury

An estimated 1 million people in the United Kingdom currently have a long-term or lifelong need for help with everyday activities due to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many believe this number to be low as it only takes into account the number of reported injuries to hospital accident and emergency rooms and by doctors.

1. A traumatic brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. The injury may be suffered in a car or motorbike accident, injury at work, fall or assault.

2. 1 million people sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury each year in the UK. Every person in the UK has a 1:400 chance of sustaining a traumatic brain injury each year.

3. The two groups at highest risk for traumatic brain injury are children (0-4 year olds) and teenagers (15-19 year olds). Babies are at particular risk of suffering a brain injury during birth which can lead to the development of conditions such as cerebral palsy. Teenagers are statistically more likely to be involved in a car accident that any other age group.

4. Statistics show the number of sports-related traumatic brain injury count  as high as 0.25 million per year. Activities such as rock climbing, skiing and motor bike racing are amongst the sports where the risk of suffering a head injury is highest.

5. Using a seatbelt in a motor vehicle and wearing a helmet when cycling or riding a motorbike is the best way to prevent a Traumtic Brain Injury. Brain injuries suffered during motorcycle accidents are statistically more likely to result in severe long term disability.

6. Males are almost twice as likely as females to sustain a TBI. This is a combination of them participating in more dangerous sports, being employed in jobs that present a risk of suffering a head injury and being more likely to be involved in an assault.

7. A concussion is a mild brain injury. The consequences of multiple concussions can be far more dangerous than those of a first TBI. Sports such as boxing and kickboxing can lead to multiple concussion being suffered.

8. The area most often injured are the frontal lobes that control thinking and emotional regulation. The frontal lobes are located at the front of the head.

9. A blow to one part of the brain can cause damage throughout.

10 Most people do make a good recovery from TBI. Early medical treatment and specilised rehabilitation are crucial in making a good recovery from a brain injury.

Headinjuryuk are a firm of lawyers who offer free legal advice to those affected by brain injuries. Over the years we have helped thousands of people who have been injured in car accidents and injuries suffered at work or during sport. If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury, contact us for free advice on whether you can claim compensation 0800 073 0988.

Article Source:
Posted in Brain Injuries - About | Leave a comment

Support for Survivors and Caregivers After Brain Injury – A Program With 12 Life Themes

Brain Injury Category Brain Injury

Too often, a person is defined by their condition or disability. Many survivors of traumatic brain injury report that others see their disability first and the person second. When the disability is physical, the effects may be visible such as difficulty walking or using an arm. While communication impairments are less visible than an amputation or paralysis, they can be readily apparent when the person has difficulty speaking or understanding language. Cognitive impairments and disabilities can be much less visible and more difficult to categorize or describe. Yet changes in the ability to think and learn are among the most common consequences of brain injury. Difficulty with problem solving, reasoning, impulse control, and initiation are just a few examples of common cognitive changes that can affect the survivor’s ability to live independently, attend school or hold a job. When a person is defined by their disability or impairments, the full scope of the person’s life and accomplishments is minimized.

Once the medical crisis has passed and attention has shifted to adjusting to life at home and in the community, many caregivers and family members are unsure how to best help and support the individual. A good place to start is with these basic questions.

  • How can I help the person sort out his life again?
  • What does she hope to achieve in the future and are her goals realistic?
  • How do I talk about these things with him?
  • How can I help care for her without taking over her life?

Patty van Belle-Kusse and Judith Zadoks have developed a program that views the entire person, not just the brain injury. It is designed to support both survivors and their caregivers including families. The method is based on:

  • developing a personal profile of the individual
  • identifying key life events
  • examining the meaning of the diagnosis
  • describing the individual’s abilities and limitations
  • looking at pre injury personal development, and
  • identifying the current lifestyle and coping strategies.

An acquired brain injury can affect virtually any aspect of an individual’s life. Not only is each brain injury unique, but the effects on each person’s life are unique as well. Van Bellle-Kusse and Zadoks have identified 12 areas of life to consider when examining the impact of a brain injury on an individual. They are:

  1. appearance
  2. health
  3. family and relationships
  4. sexuality
  5. work
  6. recreation
  7. social contacts
  8. housing and housekeeping
  9. finances
  10. certainty about the future
  11. independence, and
  12. meaning in life.

Only by examining how a brain injury has affected the survivor’s ability to function in each of these areas can it full impact be appreciated. This psychosocial approach recognizes and integrates the family into the caregiving and treatment program. It recognizes the complexity and significance of those very special relationships between not only the person and the family – but also between the person and the caregiver – and the caregiver and the family. This approach honors, respects and acknowledges all the vital partnerships and relationships that are necessary for rebuilding one’s life after brain injury and for maximizing the quality of that life.

Marilyn Lash, M.S.W., Lash and Associates Publishing/Training, Inc. Books, pamphlets and information on the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery of traumatic brain injury in children, adults and veterans. For more on living with brain injury, see the book Supporting Survivors and Caregivers after Brain Injury: A program for psychosocial support by Patty can Belle-Kusse and Judith Zadoks at

Posted in Brain Injured Caregivers, Featured Guest Articles, Tips - Life After Injury or Strokes | 1 Comment

Ankle Weights Exercise is Tough to do But Wow What Great Effects

Dragging the foot may look bad but the danger for me is when you roll over the tor and fall forward.

It is a loss of control and can be pretty damaging. Unfortunately, over the years with the hemiparesis , its occured over and over. Most often when I wasd tired or cold. When I say cold, freezing when I was younger but as I aged, cold was of course relatively higher. I would start to tighten up when the sun went down or even if tems were under 50-60 defgrees F.

The ankle weight exercises first showed to me when in the hospital recovering from the gunshot injury turned out to be one of the best exercises for preventing the ‘leg drag, tripping over my own foot.’

Of course the #1 best exercise is being in the water!

waling in  the water, simlply moving legs arms back and forth, great! Eventually maybe some swim…

Watch the weight gain!

Posted in My Life After Injury Blog, Physical Therapy, Tips - Life After Injury or Strokes | Leave a comment

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill is Wednesday, March 21

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill is Wednesday, March 21

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill will be held Wednesday, March 21, 2012. As in years past, there will be an awareness fair, briefing and reception. The full schedule for the day is as follows:

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Brain Injury Awareness Fair
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. &ndaSee all stories on this topic

HHS Provides FAQ on Essential Health Benefits

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a ‘frequently asked questions’ document (FAQ) on the essential health benefits bulletin that was released in December 2011. Go here to download the FAQ on essential health benefits.

HHS stated it will release regulations to the Affordable Care Act in the near future. BIAA iSee all stories on this topic

BIAA Unveils New Brain Injury Awareness Month Campaign

The Brain Injury Association of America is happy to unveil a new, multi-year campaign for Brain Injury Awareness Month — March 2012. The Strategy & Long Term Planning Committee of BIAA worked hard over the past year to develop a campaign theme and strategy that is broad reaching and adaptable for all affiliates and communities. The new theme is:

See all stories on this topic

Important Information Regarding the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal

After analyzing President Barack Obama’s proposed FY2013 budget, BIAA is pleased to report that programs authorized by the TBI Act, including the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Federal TBI Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) important TBI work, have both been recommended to recSee all stories on this topic

Posted in Head Injury and Hemiparesis News on the Web | Tagged , | Leave a comment