Posts Tagged brain injury

[f/b Post] HOW DO I EXPLAIN WHAT I FEEL?

By Monti Skiby. 9/9/2019

Η εικόνα ίσως περιέχει: ένα ή περισσότερα άτομα και κείμενο

Disappointment is difficult to to face. We have pre-conceived ideas of how someone or something is going to happen. There can be expectations in order to receive acceptance. We see it in children who receive a low test score. Others who can not hit a home run or make every basket they try. Valentine’s Day may come and go and no one remembers. It happens all the time in various situations. Throughout our entire life we are disappointed and we disappoint others. Not with the intent of disappointing but trying to meet someone elses expectation (s). Searching for acceptance and meeting expectations from others often develops into “part” of our identy.

When a person survives a brain injury it is common to have a loss of identy.

Many of us are no longer able to work or be the wife, husband, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, sister, brother… we once were. Some can not provide for their family any longer or fill the position as they once did as a mother, father, grandparent, aunt/uncle or have a position of making decisions for the family. Each one of the things I mentioned is a loss of a purpose we once had. Our purpose needs to be re-identified.

We are taught from a very young,”what do you want to be when you grow up”? A police officer, a fire fighter, a teacher, a lawyer, a mommy, a daddy…. determining our worth and identity by the job or position in the family we have. Is is “WHAT” we are. Never do we ask children “WHO” do you want to be? Compassionate, peaceful, spiritual, loving, gentle, hateful, angry…. Being identified by a job or position in the family is external to who you are. Not the characteristics which have developed inside within you.

“WHO” you are involves your character as a person. It comes from traits you develop as your inner self. A reflection of your emotions, mental state, spirituality, feelings towards others, feelings toward yourself, ability to think of someone other than yourself. When we loose the identity society has identified by “WHAT” we are we feel like a failure.

Same happens when a person survives a brain injury, “you just got fired from your life”. No longer able to work, be a husband or wife, etc … I’m sure you get the point. How do we feel? Like a failure. Unable to do what was once the roles we played. The hats we wore as teacher and mother/father and aunt/uncle, brother/sister. Now we need to depend on others, not being totally independent any more, and not be able to think as we once did. It takes longer to process thoughts, answers or even to understand what was said.

The rug has been pulled right out from under us. Having to look at “WHO” we are for the first time in our life. Learning to identify characteristics within you is Hell. Territory not travelled before. We believe; we have lost the position of being equal, we no longer are able to provide for others as we once did, we think we have or are losing everything we had.

All of these things can not be seen but only felt. Feeling worthless comes easy. Explaining it to someone does not.

Do not abandon us. Do not treat us as if we are at fault. We are not stupid. We have a brain injury which will heal for the rest of our life. We have not changed as a person. We now have limitations.

Having someone who cares about you is very difficult to find. Many people leave because they do not understand, don’t want to understand, want “WHAT” you were before, they can not find the love and acceptance to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Expectations have to be eliminated. There is no room for pre-conceived notions of what must be done for acceptance. There never should have been expections in the first place.

I was a swim coach for a young group of kids years ago. 1st rule for parents was there would be no negative comments made to child (ren).

2. Parents were not allowed on deck. Even at swim meets. They sit in the bleachers (as long as no negative remarks).

3. If they persisted in negative remarks they were not allowed at the practices or meets.

There were 6 yr olds who had to be taught to swim. There was a 9 yr old who was deaf. There were young teens who believed they could do nothing right. I loved this group of kids.

The kids were taught not to compare times with other kids at meets but to focus on how their times improved from the last meet. Smiles came from shaving off 2 seconds, 5 seconds and even 12 seconds. The teen who said she could not do or accomplish anything shaved off seconds every meet and she smiles as the seconds came off. If the kids swam in 3 meets they received a metal from me for good attendance & doing the best they could do. If they swam in 6 meets another metal for attendance & doing the best they could. Same for 9 meets. The 12 kids succeeded no matter what. They learned self respect, responsibility of following through and setting goals. 9 of the 12 went to go to the State Meet because of their times and achievements.

We are the same person. Our personality and abilities have changed. The person is the same. Loving someone enough to help them heal is a genuine love. This is for ourself, friends and family.

Hope this helps. God has kept you alive for a reason. Love you. By Monti Skiby.

 

Η εικόνα ίσως περιέχει: ένα ή περισσότερα άτομα και κείμενο

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[VIDEO] Living With A Stranger: My Husband’s Brain Injury

Why We Created This Video

 

Traumatic or acquired brain injury as discussed by the media and the medical profession often fails to accurately portray the devastating and lifelong consequences brain damage can also have on a spouse and the entire family.

We created this video to offer a different perspective on the lifelong aftermath of brain injury, focusing on a person who has not actually sustained the injury but suffers from its consequences. Spouses and people close to brain injury victims may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to explain their emotional roller coaster. We hope this video will assist in communicating the difficulties they themselves face. The impact on the spouse, family, and loved ones of someone who has sustained a brain injury are often neglected and overlooked. Their needs must be examined and addressed.

Although families are aware of the importance of the brain, very few families know of the consequences of a brain injury. Often, family members observation of physical improvement leads them to unrealistic expectations regarding cognitive, emotional, and behavioral recovery. Recovery and rehabilitation of these functions may take a long and uneven path, particularly when there is damage to frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, most vulnerable in auto crashes and falls. Those suffering the tragic consequences of a concussion, may have no visible physical symptoms, creating a false assumption that the injury was insignificant.

A once generous, articulate, cheerful, and socially appropriate person, however, may be transformed into a self-centered, verbose, depressed, and unpleasant person shunned by members of his or her own family. These more subtle changes in a person with a brain injury unfortunately envelope and affects a spouse, left alone to cope with the tragic aftermath.

A spouse or significant other may be constantly fearful of upsetting his or her loved one and may become isolated from others. One person’s brain injury has devastating effects on the entire family constellation, with a spouse or significant other functioning as both caretaker and liaison to the world. Spouses require support as well to learn to cope with the long-term consequences of brain injury.

Possible Consequences of Brain Injury to a Spouse, Significant Other:

  • Isolation
  • Clinical Depression
  • Divorce
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Neglected healthcare

New responsibilities assumed by a spouse following a traumatic brain injury:

  • Household Responsibility
  • Parenting Responsibility
  • Income Responsibility
  • Decision Making
  • Caring for The Injured Spouse

Support Services for Spouses to Consider:

  • Brain Injury Spouse Support Groups
  • In Home Assistance: Home Health Aides and Personal Care Assistance
  • Respite Care

Problems Your Spouse May Have:

  • Change in Sleep Patters
  • Decreased Ambition and Initiation
  • Dependency
  • Depression
  • Impatience
  • Impaired Self-Control
  • Inflexibility
  • Inappropriate Public Behavior
  • Irritability
  • Memory Impairment
  • Self-Centered Behavior
  • Sexual Disinterest or Sexual Preoccupation
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Temper Outbursts

Important Resources for Spouses, Significant Others and Family Members:

Organizations

Important Information

Publications

About Shana & Michael

Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen.

Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen are personal injury attorneys dedicated to assisting brain injury survivors navigate the road after traumatic brain injury. With extensive experience in representing victims of brain trauma, they are prepared to guide brain injury victims through the legal obstacles they will confront and recover full and fair compensation for the harms and losses their clients have suffered as a result of someone’s careless or negligent conduct.

De Caro & Kaplen, LLP is a New York personal injury law firm focused on representing victims of brain injury. Our attorneys have the knowledge and skill to make a crucial difference in the lives of brain injury victims. Specialized brain injury cases require a law firm with the experience and proficiency to assist brain injury victims through the most difficult legal challenges in their lives following a traumatic brain injury.

Shana and Michael are nationally recognized for their advocacy on behalf of brain injury victims. Shana is in her second term as an officer, and a member of the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of America . Michael is a three-term past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and current Chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council. They have been designated Preferred Attorneys for the Brain Injury Association of America.

Their opinions on traumatic brain injury are frequently sought by The New York Times, USA Today, The Daily News, Fox News Network, and others. They are widely respected throughout the legal, medical, and judicial communities. The two regularly lecture lawyers, medical professionals, and judges, across the nation on how traumatic brain injury clients and cases should be evaluated and handled in and out of the courthouse.

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[QUOTATION] Brain Injury is …

Η εικόνα ίσως περιέχει: φαγητό

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[BLOG POST] Breakdown of relationships after a brain injury

Picture of Michelle Munt

By Michelle Munt, 21 August 2019

Breakdown of relationships after a brain injury

If we have been fortunate enough to grow up in a supportive community, we often think that those who care about us will be there in a crisis. Sounds reasonable, right? Your next of kin get that dreadful phone call alerting them to your accident and which hospital they will find you in. They rush to your bedside with a concerned expression etched on their face as they are told you have a brain injury…

Fast forward to when you are home: your relationship with them isn’t so rosy any more. It feels like they are being short with you and always stressing out until they start ghosting you, leaving you feeling abandoned in your time of need.

Most brain injury survivors that I have spoken to have had relationships with friends and family breakdown after their injury. And I’m sure most people who say that it’s times like this that people should be pulling together, not drifting apart. So, these people are immoral, bad people, right? Wrong.

If you are a survivor who has suffered an experience like this, stay with me. Believe me; I do understand what this feels like and how hurtful it is. I have been through a similar situation myself with someone who was/is very important to me. But as I have mended that relationship, which took several painful years, I have the benefit of hindsight that I can share with you. I wrote about this situation before on my blog in Added injustice following a brain injury, half of which was written whilst we were still in the middle of this uncomfortable mess, before moving on to an update about how we reconciled. Reading it back now does bring back a lot of emotions for me. It’s interesting because it sounds just like so many other brain injury survivors’ stories. Yes, we do try to be fair and accept the stress is difficult for the people around us, but we’re still bitter about feeling abandoned.

There are so many stress factors that are straining these relationships. Whilst it might give us some relief to apportion blame, it’s not actually constructive. What we need to keep in mind is the statement “those who care about us will be there in a crisis” is just a belief, not a fact. Life is full of choices and consequences. Some of these decisions are difficult to make, but everyone has to make choices, even those that leave us with a heavy heart. It might well be that some of the stresses they are being weighed down by are having negative effects in other areas of their lives that others haven’t seen. It could be having a knock-on effect on children, careers, finances, just to name a few.

On a recent trip to Jersey, I was reminded what these painful decisions can look like. During WW2, Winston Churchill had many discussions with the Royal Navy about the defence of the channel isles. Ultimately, they convinced him that their resources were needed elsewhere, even though he passionately wanted to defend them. I can’t begin to imagine how abandoned and let down the islanders must have felt. Did Churchill make the right decision? That’s not for me to judge, but what this event demonstrates is sometimes the “greater good” can mean we have to do things that we don’t actually want to do. Even after the war ended, it took many months for Great Britain to retake the islands and things to resettle. Today, whilst Jersey has its own government, it’s still proud to be a part of the British Isles. Now that is the ultimate forgiveness, don’t you think?

In short, what I’m trying to say is let your anger at them go. Put the voodoo doll away, stop searching for all the embarrassing photos you have of them that you planned on posting on social media and definitely don’t sign them up for loads of annoying spam emails. No judgement, these are half baked plans I had once too. But because I managed to forgive, instead it left the door open for reconciliation. And if it never comes, you’ll feel better anyway because holding onto those emotions only hurts you, not them.

via Breakdown of relationships after a brain injury

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[Infographic] What NOT to say to someone with a brain injury

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[WEB SITE] Virtual Reality + Psychiatry: VR Storytelling Could Transform Mental Health

Virtual Psychiatry

By Jeffrey Rindskopf  August 21, 2019

In the early ‘90s, psychologist Albert “Skip” Rizzo was trying to rehabilitate cognitive function in brain injury patients with workbooks and pen-and-paper exercises – tools one might expect more from a special education class than a psychiatric treatment center. Then one patient, a frontal lobe-impaired 22-year-old, came in with a Game Boy, playing “Tetris.”

“This is a guy I couldn’t motivate for more than five minutes to stay focused, but there he was lasered in on this Game Boy,” Rizzo recalls. “That was the first lightbulb that we could start using digital technology to motivate and engage people.”

He became one of many medical professionals at the time to recognize the early potential of virtual reality (VR) to help diagnose and treat a wide range of mental health issues. In 1995, Rizzo accepted a research director position at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies to launch a new kind of cognitive rehab, supplementing the old analog and talk therapy tools with VR simulations.

“Now the technology has caught up with the vision,” he says.

So, what is the vision? Given that most health concerns are inseparable from one’s environment, Rizzo calls VR “the ultimate Skinner box,” meaning it can create safe yet emotionally evocative experiences to serve virtually any assessment or treatment approach imaginable. These therapeutic programs could be uniquely reliable for evaluating patients in the subjective world of mental health, wherein up to 85 percent of conditions can go undetected, according to the World Health Organization.

VR could bridge this gap in awareness and improve diagnoses by letting providers monitor patients’ physiological reactions to virtual scenarios, resulting in better treatment outcomes down the line. At Exeter University, a “mirror game” requiring subjects to duplicate the movements and expressions of a virtual avatar aided early detection of schizophrenia. In a similar vein, University of Oxford researchers are developing a VR-based test that gauges subjects’ reactions to neutral social situations for instances of paranoid thinking. Another study from Cambridge University diagnosed early Alzheimer’s-related spatial impairments more accurately than the current gold standard method, just by having participants don an HTC Vive and retrace their steps along an unmarked L-shaped path.

Another area where VR offers proven advantages is “extinction learning,” a method for overcoming fear and emotional trauma by gradually desensitizing one to the source of their anxiety. Though patients know these experiences aren’t real, that doesn’t change the preconscious response and fear activation of their limbic systems, manifesting in increased heart rate and production of the stress hormone cortisol. Our emotional command centers naturally suspend disbelief even when our logical minds know better, putting VR on par with real-life exposure therapy in clinical effectiveness, but with none of the travel costs or physical danger.

While early programs were calibrated to extinguish common phobias like fear of heights (balancing on a plank between skyscrapers), flying (sitting on the runway in a commercial aircraft) and spiders (progressing through increasingly realistic arachnid encounters), advancements in tech have allowed researchers to tailor more complex experiences, like crowded streets to stimulate social anxiety or traumatic memories for PTSD.

Starting in 2003, Rizzo modified a VR shooter game into an exposure tool called “BRAVEMIND” for veterans to reprocess their traumatic experiences, whether relating to IED blasts or sexual assault, with a therapist virtually recreating the memory as described.

“Most treatments out there for PTSD don’t have a lot of empirical evidence,” explains Rizzo. “The ones that do so far are ones that help a person focus on addressing the trauma, not avoiding it.”

The same principle seems to apply for another trial use of VR to treat schizophrenia. Traditionally, therapists advise patients to ignore auditory hallucinations, but a University of Montreal research team instead helped them create and interact with virtual avatars for the voices in their heads. While four of 19 subjects quit after the first session, the remaining 15 rated each interaction less frightening than the last, and their hallucination-related distress dropped an average of 5 points on a scale of 20 by the study’s end.

More recently, Rizzo and others have taken VR a step further, exploring something increasingly unheard of in American healthcare – prevention.

“BRAVEMIND” was retooled into the award-winning training simulation “STRIVE,” or Stress Resilience In Virtual Environments, preparing military members for the trials and traumas of combat before they’re deployed. Standing atop a vibrating platform in an immersive headset, recruits experience 15-minutes episodes at the midpoint of which an “emotionally challenging” event occurs based on real combat situations, such as the death of a civilian child or beating of a woman for infidelity. The scenario pauses, and a virtual “mentor” pulls players aside to help them process the event and teach physiological coping strategies, like deep breathing with a pair of onscreen lungs.

“We’re trying to engage people in stuff they normally get by way of death by PowerPoint,” says Rizzo. “We know experiential learning with a story sticks in the brain way more than somebody telling you in a lecture.”

Other psychological applications where VR has shown promise include weakening cravings that drive addiction and relapse, reducing body size overestimation in anorexia patients, imparting job interview skills to the autistic or formerly incarcerated, distracting from acutely discomforting procedures like chemotherapy and teaching mindfulness in ways that can engage and offer relief for even chronic pain sufferers. Some VR treatments are already rolling out to clinicians’ offices and consumers – “BRAVEMIND” and “STRIVE” are being donated by the charity SoldierStrong to VA offices across America, while the company Limbix offers $200 monthly subscriptions for a headset with their range of medical-grade VR apps.

Yet this ability to literally shape and heal human minds has mainly been overshadowed by commercial excitement for VR video games, not that Rizzo minds. Gaming industry investment has driven the technology to new heights in sensory immersion and new lows in cost – from $15k for a full setup in the ‘90s to $200 for a standalone headset today – giving it a clinical edge over pricier techniques like neuroimaging.

Now, however, Rizzo considers the incubation period for VR over and stresses the need to distinguish between entertainment versus health-related applications, lest business motives get in the way of credible science and set back public acceptance of the technology. There are many ethical considerations still to be sorted out as well, like ensuring providers have adequate training on the tech as well as patients’ needs and establishing safeguards for self-administered VR treatments.

“We’re not building games here,” Rizzo emphasizes, “we’re building experiences.”

But at the same time, that gaming element may be the key to VR’s revolutionary potential for healthcare. Effective treatment means nothing if people don’t use it, and the allure of VR, demonstrated time and time again in preliminary studies, could actually drive engagement and education in mental health as a whole. Just as the introduction of flight training simulators in the ‘30s led to a precipitous drop in aircraft accidents, this could be another immersive practice tool to minimize real-world distress, but with a universal scope and appeal well beyond that of any Game Boy.

via Virtual Reality + Psychiatry: VR Storytelling Could Transform Mental Health

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[Abstract] Effectiveness of Post-Hospital Intensive Residential Rehabilitation after Acquired Brain Injury: Outcomes of 256 Program Completers Compared to Participants in a Residential Supported Living Program

Post-hospital residential brain injury rehabilitation outcomes research is a complicated undertaking because of the custom-tailoring of interventions needed to meet the complex and unique need of each individual. As such, there tends to be great variability across program settings, which generally limits large-scale intervention studies. Growing literature demonstrates that post-hospital residential programs are beneficial. The main criticisms of this work include the absence of randomized-controlled studies, lack of clear definition of treatment types/settings, and small sample sizes. This study is a retrospective analysis of program evaluation data for a large, multi-site, national provider of post-hospital residential brain injury rehabilitation services. Specifically, outcome of participants completing Intensive Residential Rehabilitation (IRR) were compared to participants in the Residential Supported Living (RSL) program. Results demonstrate that participants in the IRR program improve and that participants in the RSL group preserve functional ability over time, suggesting that each program is effective in achieving its intended outcome. The IRR treatment group achieved significantly better outcomes than those in the same setting not receiving the intervention. To isolate treatment effects of IRR, a subsample of participants across program types were matched on time post-injury, age, and sex. The treatment effect of IRR was strengthened in this analysis, suggesting that chronicity alone does not account for the variance between the two groups.

 

via Effectiveness of Post-Hospital Intensive Residential Rehabilitation after Acquired Brain Injury: Outcomes of 256 Program Completers Compared to Participants in a Residential Supported Living Program | Journal of Neurotrauma

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[BLOG POST] Clamming up about my brain injury stings relationships – Jumbledbrain

At times I’m just too tired to explain how I’m feeling. (You might have noticed I write less often than I used to and that’s one of the reasons for it.) Sometimes there is a storm of emotions inside me which I realise are irrational but I can’t quell them. So to avoid saying anything that I would later regret, I find myself clamming up. But my face rarely gets the memo and goes into full on sulky mode. I’m so bored of this brain injury, I wish I could direct my anger at it and evict it from my head. Sadly it doesn’t work like that though.

At the time clamming up feels like the lesser of two evils. But maybe it isn’t.

My silence carries more weight than I intend it to. All I’m doing it trying to contain my poisonous tongue. Some people go quiet for dramatic effect, waiting for someone to ask “What’s wrong, you’ve hardly said a word today?” I guarantee you, that when you are struggling with a brain injury there is no such thing as dramatic effect.

Even when I’m trying to be mindful, holding my tongue is the best I can do. I might be sulking about my partner James having to work so much, and having less time with him. As he is the only one bringing in a income, I know I can’t begrudge him for being so conscientious. In fact, I know he would like nothing more than being able to work less, or even take early retirement. But currently neither are an option. So I try to remind myself of this and empathise with his position. And it works, but not for my brain injury. It just keeps complaining and dragging me down.

How clamming up about my brain injury is not a good idea

How silence leaves too many unanswered questions.

My grumpiness is too obvious, and I know it makes James feel guilty. But he has nothing to feel guilty about. He has been truly amazing the entire time. Superman hasn’t got a patch on this guy. If the world had more people like him in it, people wouldn’t need heaven.

But he still doubts himself as he can read my face. So eventually I manage to spill, but I start with a disclaimer: “I know I’m being stupid, and here’s the reason why it’s stupid …..blah,blah,blah…. but I can’t help it. I’m upset about ….x,y,z….. because…..”

This really does help the situation, it’s just a shame it takes me so long to be in a position where I can do it. James is getting used to my behaviour, but he is only human (although he’s as close to an angel as you can get.) When I am clamming up, his mind is running a million miles an hour, thinking of all the things I might be annoyed about. I do feel bad for torturing him like this as he doesn’t deserve it. So here’s a shout out for all the carers who some how put up with the nonsense some of us survivors put them through.

clamming up after my brain injury isn't helpful.

I’m tired and I’ve run out of words again so I’m going to leave it there. I think you get the point, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is going through this.

Other articles you may like:

Do you find yourself clamming up, or are you the opposite? If you say everything that is going on in your mind does it work out well for you?

via Clamming up about my brain injury stings relationships | Jumbledbrain

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[WEB SITE] Communication problems after brain injury

Communication problems after brain injury are very common. Although most of us take it for granted, the ability to communicate requires extremely complex skills and many different parts of the brain are involved.

There are four main categories of the effects of brain injury. Any of these can cause communication problems:

  • Physical – affecting how the body works
  • Cognitive – affecting how the person thinks, learns and remembers
  • Emotional – affecting how the person feels
  • Behavioural – affecting how a person acts

Many people will experience more than one form of communication problem after brain injury, depending on the areas of the brain affected and the severity of the injury. It is also important to recognise that such problems may occur alongside other changes in physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural functions.

The diagram below shows the cerebral cortex. The cortex is the outer part of the brain, which is responsible for our more sophisticated thinking skills. Many of the functions listed are important for communication and injury to any of these areas can impair communication skills.

This section explains some of the ways brain injury can affect communication.

  • Language impairment – aphasia (often called dysphasia)
    Covers problems with understanding language and expressing thoughts through language. Also covers problems with reading and writing.
  • Speech difficulties
    Discusses disorders of speech that can occur after brain injury.
  • Cognitive communication difficulties
    Covers some of the problems with communication caused by cognitive difficulties, such as memory impairment, attention difficulties, poor social skills and fatigue.

Our booklet Coping with communication problems after brain injury provides more in-depth information about the issues covered here, and you can contact the Headway helpline if you have any further questions.

via Communication problems | Headway

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[WEB SITE] 5 top tips for managing memory problems after brain injury

5 top tips for managing memory problems after brain injury

5 top tips: memory

Managing memory problems after brain injury

 

 

 

Impairment of memory is one of the most common effects of a brain injury and can cause serious problems with day-to-day living.

While there is unfortunately no cure available, there are a number of strategies that for many people make it easier to live with memory problems and can increase independence.

Adapt the environment

One of the simplest ways to help with memory problems is to adapt your environment so you rely on memory less.

Some ideas for doing so which have helped others are:

  • Keeping a notepad by the phone to make a note of phone calls and messages
  • Putting essential information on a noticeboard
  • Deciding on a special place to keep important objects like keys, wallets or spectacles and always putting them back in the same place
  • Attaching important items to your person so they can’t be mislaid, for example using a neck cord for reading glasses
  • Labelling cupboards and storage vessels as a reminder of where things are kept
  • Labelling perishable food with the date it was opened
  • Painting the toilet door a distinctive colour so it is easier to find
  • Labelling doors as a reminder of which room is which

Use external memory aids

woman writing in diaryMany people use external memory aids, regardless of whether they have a brain injury or not. External memory aids are particularly important for people with memory problems as they limit the work the memory has to do.

Some examples of external memory aids you could try include:

  • Smartphones with diary or calendar applications
  • Diaries, filofaxes or datebooks
  • Notebooks
  • Lists
  • Alarm clocks
  • Watches
  • Calendars
  • Wall charts
  • Tape recorders and dictaphones
  • Electronic organisers
  • Pagers
  • Pill reminder boxes for medication
  • Sticky-backed notes
  • Photo albums
  • Cameras

Follow a set routine

Having a daily and weekly routine means that people with memory problems can get used to what to expect, which helps to reduce the demands on memory. Changes in routine are, however, often necessary, but can be confusing.

Relatives and carers can help by explaining any changes in routine carefully to help you prepare for the change, giving plenty of spoken and written reminders.

You could also try the following reminder strategies in order to establish routines:

  • Make a note of regular activities in a diary or on a calendar
  • Make a chart of regular events, perhaps using pictures or photographs, on a noticeboard
notes

Combine several strategies to make a substitute memory system

Most people with memory problems find it useful to combine several aids and strategies. A combination of two or three strategies can cover the areas where there would otherwise be problems and provide a safety net for things that must be remembered.

Here are examples of the components of two such ‘combination systems’ you can try:

System one:

  • Three lists – one showing routine tasks, one showing where to find files in the filing cabinet and one showing key ‘rules’, such as when to do the filing each day
  • A ring binder with sections on ‘immediate/urgent tasks’ and ‘long-term projects’
  • A notebook
  • A telephone message pad to make notes of conversations
  • A computer calendar and alarm
  • Practising assertiveness techniques to ‘buy time’ instead of having to respond to requests immediately. For instance, encouraging the person with the memory problems to say, “hang on, let me just find my notepad” and then taking their time with finding the relevant information in the notepad
  • Simple relaxation and breathing techniques to reduce anxiety

System two:

  • Filofax
  • Journal
  • Watch
  • Dictaphone
  • Various lists
  • Sticky-backed notes
  • Menu chart
  • Keeping things in the same place
  • Following routines

Improve general well-being

Memory is very important in giving us a sense of our own identity. Memory problems often have major emotional effects, including feelings of loss and anger and increased levels of depression and anxiety. Some approaches to dealing with this are as follows:

  • Share your feelings with others. People with memory problems often find that talking to people who understand their problems can provide relief and reassurance. Headway Groups and Branches can be an excellent source of support and details of how to find your local service are provided at the end of this factsheet.
  • Identify activities you find enjoyable and relaxing, such as listening to music or exercising, and take the time to indulge in them.

Find out more

Finding a strategy that suits you can be a case of trial and error, and it is important to take things slowly. You should always speak to your doctor before changing your routine, and you might like to seek a referral to a specialist such as a neuropsychologist or occupational therapist for personalised professional support.

This information is adapted from Headway’s factsheet Coping with memory problems – practical strategies, which you can download below or from our information library. Much of the information contained here is included in the book Coping with memory problems, and is used with kind permission from Pearson Assessment. You can purchase this book in the Headway shop.

You can contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or helpline@headway.org.uk to discuss any of the issues covered here, or get in touch with your local Headway group or branch.

 

via 5 top tips for managing memory problems after brain injury | Headway

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