Posts Tagged Caregiver

[BLOG POST] Yes, I have rules – A BRAIN INJURY LIFE

Don’t we all?

Friends tell me I’m always overwhelmed like a cat running round in circles chasing its tail. They say I should stop feeling responsible for everything and let go of all the “shoulds” I live with. All except one, that is. I should spend more time just living my life.

Guilty as charged. They’re right—I am overwhelmed, I do feel a responsibility towards others, and I am compelled to go off in ten directions at once. But they’re wrong about the “shoulds” I live with. Those are my rules. They have become so familiar, help me stay cool when my emotions take over, and ground me when I’m feeling out of control.

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I push back when family or friends tell me what I should be doing because I am doing what feels right. I’ve learned and practiced these strategies until I’m blue in the face. And when I get overwhelmed, I’m reassured knowing that I have the tools I need at hand. They are like scaffolding, giving me structure I don’t get elsewhere. What can I say? I like them. They live in the back of my mind, and remind me that I can help myself.

My Brain Injury Rules

  1. When in doubt, don’t
  2. Check my calendar and TO DO list; set alarms for appointments
  3. Do one thing at a time
  4. Don’t even look at the computer before I finish my morning routine:
    • Shower
    • Dress
    • Take meds
    • Eat Breakfast
  5. Build in a delay—think before I talk
  6. Everything should have a home. Don’t put things down, put them back
  7. Stay in the kitchen while cooking or set an alarm to check in
  8. Take breaks
  9. The “Rule of 4”: Don’t walk out the door without:
    • Wallet
    • Keys
    • MetroCard
    • Phone
    • addendum: check oven & stove are off!
  10. Focus. Focus. Focus

via Yes, I have rules

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[BLOG POST] The importance of focus when living with a brain injury | Jumbledbrain

via The importance of focus when living with a brain injury | Jumbledbrain

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[BLOG POST] A Brain Injury Life – formerly TBI to LIFE

Perception of Self after Brain Injury

Lately I’ve been wondering whether brain injury really changed the person I am or if it just added a new layer to my old self.  It may be impossible to articulate and probably unanswerable. Obviously, an injury physically changes how the brain works and directly causes a host of problems—physical pain, cognitive deficits, and the loss of identity (e.g. the tendency to ask existential questions like this). But cause and effect are not always clear. There are many problems that could be organic or could just as well be new incarnations of innate character traits.

I’ve gotten used to the idea that everything different in my life since my TBI has either been caused by the brain injury or what I learned in my neuropsychological rehabilitation. But what if there are fewer changes than I imagined? Am I still who I was but with some parts missing? That would explain the feeling of being lost in a foreign land.

For example, I used to think I was always right. But if brain injury has altered me functionally (it has, now I am often wrong), while leaving my sense of self intact (i.e. I still see myself as in the right), my perception would contradict reality. Since I’m nothing if not logical, one or the other would have to give. The belief of always being right could, unconsciously, be directed somewhere else. So instead of being convinced that my answers were better, I’d think I was wiser because I’d learned the best strategies, and was convinced that I could recognize a brain injury—or deficit—intuitively and in the moment. Which I am.

Does that make any sense? One more try:

If brain injury changed the life I lived—the structure, productivity, and satisfaction—but not who I think I am in life, it would explain why I feel rudderless. I keep trying to find my place in the world, a goal I can realistically accomplish and the initiation to follow through. Instead, I feel like I have no purpose. I come up with labels to define myself like an advocate (really?), a leader in the community (since when—6 years ago?), or educating people about brain injury (who am I teaching?). So what’s up with that?

All I can say with certainty is that the feeling of being unmoored seems to grow deeper as time passes.

via A Brain Injury Life – formerly TBI to LIFE

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[VIDEO] Brain Injury: A helping hand

“Every brain injury is different and there are no hard and fast rules about how it effects people. But it would certainly help if people were more educated about its hidden nature and some of the most common effects.”

via A helping hand | Headway

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[BLOG POST] The Elephant In The Room

Elephant In The Room:

~ An English-language metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem. difficult situation/decision, or risk no one wants to discuss, or a condition no one wants to challenge.  An unpleasant experience. question, problem, solution, or controversial issue which is obvious to everyone who knows about the issue, but which is deliberately ignored because to do otherwise would cause great embarrassment, sadness, arguments, or is simply taboo. ~

orangeelephant

What is YOUR “elephant in the room”?   

Is it an invisible injury or illness? Have you been diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Is it a Polytrauma you are recovering from?

Is it chronic pain?

Is it Survivor guilt?

Is it lack of sexual libido or change in your sexuality since your injury/illness?

Is it your inability to describe to others what you are going through or have gone through?

Is it the coping skills that you must use and choose to tell noone about?

Is it your bravery, your sheepishness, your courage, your fears?

Is it pride in how much you have acccomplished?  How far you have come?

Is it depression, anxiety, or disappointment in your lack of progress?

Is it lack of confidence?  Is it overthinking and overconfidence?

Is it your inability to return to the same type of work you used to do?

Is it your desire to return to work, yet unsure of what that picture looks like for you?

Is it caregiver burnout?

Is it provider fatigue?

Is it a source of deep grief, sense of loss, or mourning?

Is it something that you have put in your past and no longer wish to speak about?

Is it something you want to speak about, yet others are ready to move on and not speak about it?

Talking about the things that are bothering you can help clarify them and put them in perspective. In never addressing the “elephant in the room” a general uneasiness, sense of frustration, stagnation, loneliness, and untrustworthy environment can breed a life of havoc and confusion. Break your silence and be blunt in a productive manner.  Perhaps even seeking out a therapist to assist you with working through some of the adjustments would be advantageous for you.

Avoiding an issue causes more harm than good….always. When discussing an issue, it is imperative to remain as calm as possible.  Using anger or yelling to communicate can absolutely make things less constructive – especially if you are having trouble finding the words to say and the best way to deliver them.  Being objective can be super tough.  However, it can be helpful if you make a list of facts.  Now, when I say facts.  I am not speaking about how you feel, how you think, or what your assumptions are.  I am talking about facts that you can prove with empirical evidence, historical evidence, and a paper trail.

elephantagitationKeep in mind when talking about that “elephant in the room” that sometimes the very people who need to hear the topic being talked about are the least receptive to hearing it.  That often means that person might even be you.  Being receptive to talk is important. It is equally as important to actively listen. Support from others that share the same or differing opinions about the issues you wish to speak about will make it not about you, but about the issue and how much it impacts others who have gone through the same thing, or are currently experiencing the same challenges.  Support groups (even if they are online) can be an amazing source of support, ideas, and encouragement.

A resolution or plan is something that is accomplished over time. Open communication without apathy,  fear, or hopelessness is an integral part of finding what works best for you. Keep an open mind and be willing to have multiple conversations about that “elephant in the room”.

Taking that challenge which is deliberately ignored and opening up a dialogue about it, changing whatever it is that is holding you back from being your best self.  This is how to make progress, step outside your comfort zones, and switch an unspoken taboo topic into a healing process.

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via The Elephant In The Room

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[WEB SITE] Addison, the Virtual Caregiver set to debut in January at CES

LAS VEGASJan. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — She has a face, body and endearing personality. Meet Addison, a conversational speech interface including visual, Artificial Intelligence and ambient augmented reality, created by electronic caregiver™, a division of SameDay Security, Inc. Designed to transform the home into a fulltime health and wellness environment, Addison appears on 15-inch media screens throughout a residence and provides support to consumers with features including medication management, care plan adherence, social experiences and emergency response.

What began as a futuristic concept for Anthony Dohrmann, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SameDay Security, Inc., quickly became reality with the design, innovation and creation of Addison Care™. “We wanted to give new life to voice-based virtual assistants in a way that dramatically expands the utility of voice platforms, while significantly enhancing the user experience. Addison will transform the way people interact with technology. She uniquely inspires a feeling of affection, helping people connect and better embrace their new tech,” Dohrmann said.

 

Built using Amazon Sumerian, a service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that helps organizations create and run virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D applications quickly and easily without requiring any specialized programming or 3D graphics expertise, the team at electronic caregiver™ was able to bring to life something others thought impossible. They sing the praises of Sumerian saying it changed the way and speed at which they were able to develop Addison. “Having a web-based platform like Sumerian that will host the complexity of artwork, skill and technology behind Addison has already set us apart,” says Joseph Baffoe, company President of SameDay Security, Inc. “What used to take us months or even years to create, now takes a matter of days. Amazon Sumerian has saved time and millions of dollars and can be credited with enabling us to create Addison.”

With the significant growth of the aging population, Addison has set her sights on creating an enjoyable user experience in the home, while also helping to shoulder some of the burden home healthcare is experiencing. High costs and low employee retention are two of the consistent pains in home healthcare. “10,000 people turn 65 every day and of the people needing home healthcare, only about 3% can afford it,” said Dohrmann. “We are encouraged that we will be the option these companies are able to provide to a prospective client who otherwise would have been turned away.”

Imagine a 3D, crystal clear health professional and personal assistant in your home. Though she lives with you, Addison is presented in stunning scenes and interactive environments that develop over time and are uniquely targeted to you and your needs. Her features, combined with just a one-hour set up time, will make Addison a staple in home technology. “Addison powered by Sumerian are cutting-edge interactive solutions that can transform home and healthcare. Addison Care represents a quantum leap forward in addressing the medical, financial, and social realities of an aging population and their caregivers,” stated Mark Francis, Head of Product Marketing for Amazon Sumerian, AWS.

Addison currently provides peace of mind with immediate response to emergencies. She monitors vitals via Bluetooth devices while also providing a demonstration. Addison assists with nutrition, weight loss goals, plans of care management, examinations and monitored medication reminders. She even assesses movement and changes in gait during your day-to-day activities to evaluate your risk of falling, all while working to check health status for trends of improvement or decline.

The future looks bright for Addison Care™ and the features that we can expect in the future. “People have always wondered what voice assistants might look like in the real world, and we’re going to show them at CES in January,” said Dohrmann. The company is actively applying features to provide a better user experience for accessing local business services, transportation, physician-on-demand and environmental information. “We want Addison to be the total package – including home healthcare, rehabilitation support, fitness programs, virtual companionship and social engagement with peers,” said Dohrmann. “Addison is already remarkable, but we’re going to continue innovating and researching to continuously create a superior in-home experience.”

In preparation for CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, new disclosures and websites are scheduled to go live in late December 2018. Until recently, most of Addison has been confidential.

Las Vegas, Nevada – Consumer Electronics Show; January 8-11, 2019
Booth: Sands Convention Center Halls A-D – 42142

About SameDay Security, Inc. and Electronic Caregiver

SameDay Security (SDS) is one of the fastest growing monitored technology providers in the U.S. and one of only a handful of nationwide service providers. Known as electronic caregiver™ and founded in 2009, SDS currently provides automated home care solutions and safety devices nationwide to thousands of clients. SDS has invested over $35,000,000 in patient screenings, research and development. SDS will disclose a new capital offering after CES to fuel new product launches and expansion. SDS has developing contracts with hundreds of home care partners across America who will participate in Addison Care™ marketing to their clients. New clinical trials are scheduled with G60 Trauma of Phoenix, Arizona, involving 500 patients over 3 years to determine the impact on patient outcomes, cost reduction, lower hospitalization, chronic disease management and long-term care. electronic caregiver™ employs over 70 employees and is headquartered in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  www.electroniccaregiver.com

About Amazon Sumerian

Amazon Sumerian is a browser-based authoring tool from AWS designed to create and run for the development and publishing of AR, VR and 3D applications. Using Amazon Sumerian, developers and designers can build immersive apps quickly and easily without requiring any specialized programming or 3D graphics expertise. Experiences built with Sumerian are designed to be embedded into a web page or be consumed on popular hardware such as HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. For more information, visit https://aws.amazon.com/sumerian.

SOURCE Electronic Caregiver

Related Links

http://electroniccaregiver.com

 

via Addison, the Virtual Caregiver set to debut in January at CES

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[WEB SITE] 14 People Living With Traumatic Brain Injury Explain What It’s Like

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30 percent of all injury deaths, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. People who survive a TBI can face a wide range of side effects, ranging from ones that may last a few days to lifelong disabilities.

The Mighty worked with the Traumatic Brain Injury Support Facebook page to ask people affected by TBI what they wish others understood about their conditions.

This is what they had to say:

1. “People need to learn to not judge you because of it. It makes it more difficult for us to keep moving on in the right direction.” — Erin Fox

2. “I am still capable of doing lots of things. I have worked really, really hard to overcome my injury and although I now suffer from epilepsy and use a seizure alert dog, I am still the smart, capable, funny uncommonly kind person I’ve always been. Stop telling me I can’t and start helping me reach my next goal.” — Kat Mac Kenzie

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3. “Remembering things is difficult. I’m not being lazy by only working a few hours a day or needing days off during a busy time — I just need more rest to function than you do… Changes take time for me to adjust to. What works for one person doesn’t always work for me.” — Sara Hill

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4. “I want nothing more than to be ‘better’ and not be judged like I’m a deadbeat for not being what I once was.” — Elizabeth Keene Alton

5. “The ‘new’ version of myself has very different needs than the old me. I need more rest. I need more time to form thoughts into words. I need more time to complete seemingly simple tasks. And I need my loved ones to realize and be patient with the fact that my emotions are so much harder to manage than they used to be. I still love my partner and my kids, maybe even more than ever, but I also need more solitude than I’ve ever needed before. I need compassion and cooperation. I need love and comfort. I miss the old me so so much… Raising awareness about this issue will be the first thing on my plate, once I can manage to claw my way back to some normalcy… For now, I need my sense of humor more than ever. Because it’s laugh and learn or cry and die, baby. And crying hurts the head.” — Kendra Partida

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6. “My injury may be invisible, but my life has been turned upside down. I will never be the same again.” — Christina Chalgren

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7. “Never assume a person who has difficulty communicating has nothing to say. They may have plenty to say. They just say things a little differently. Never assume their brain doesn’t work, because it does. It just may work a little differently than ours.” — Stacy Sekinger

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8. “Be patient with us as we learn to be patient with ourselves.” — Cindy Williams

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9. “I need help. To plan a day. A doctors appointment. I need someone to go with me. I need help to shop, cook and clean. I need help to find my limits and rest enough, but I also need gentle support to take small walks and do gentle 2-minute yoga so my body doesn’t stop working altogether. I need friends who come by and say ‘Hi.’ I need hugs. I need to vent and help to look for any sort of silver linings so I don’t go mad. I need new hobbies that are gentle to get my mind off my problems ,and I need help to get started. I need help to help myself.” — Catriona Thomsen

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10. “My brain takes different paths to understanding and explaining. It’s not a straight road, but one with detours.” — Keli Hanks

11. “You have no idea how much effort I have to put into all I do. Things I just did automatically prior to TBI require so much work. Everyone goes through moments in their lives which are difficult. For most there is an end in sight, a goal to work towards or for. I have no idea when my difficulties are going to lessen or even if they will. Some days having no ‘finish line’ sucks.” — Amiee Liz

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12. “No we’re not the same person we used to be. We’re alive. But we can create a new journey, learn old stuff and new stuff. The strength and determination it takes to learn, try, try, try again, fall down and get back up is painstaking, but worth it.” — Julia Hewitt

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13. “I live by my systems. I have to have a schedule or I am lost. Don’t freak on me if I get clingy in a new environment. Things that are easy for you are challenging for me. Also, just because I look OK doesn’t mean anything. I have worked for years to get where I am now.” — Nancy Davis

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14. “As much as I wish things would go back to normal for her, this is our new normal and I’m OK with that.” — Emily Reigle

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via 14 People Living With Traumatic Brain Injury Explain What It’s Like | The Mighty

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[WEB SITE] What one piece of advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed? – Epilepsy Society

21 November 2018

In September 2018, we asked our Facebook community what was the one piece of advice they would want to give to someone who had just been diagnosed with epilepsy. Our Marketing and Communications Executive, Paige Dawkins, talks more about the responses we received.

 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed?

How can a diagnosis feel?

Everyone will have their own unique reaction to being diagnosed with epilepsy. Some people will feel scared, some people will feel confused as to where the epilepsy came from, possibly seemingly out of the blue. Some people will feel relief, as they finally have an answer to the seizures they have been experiencing. Coming to terms with a diagnosis can depend on someone’s own personal life experiences, as well as the support and information they have available to them at the time, from family, friends, and healthcare professionals.

One thing that we learnt from our Facebook post was for certain – a diagnosis of epilepsy does not necessarily mean the end of an enjoyable and fulfilling life. For some people, their experiences with epilepsy have actually taught them valuable lessons, and for others, epilepsy has not stopped them from achieving their dreams. Below is a selection from over 130 comments we received on the post; here is the advice that our followers would give to someone who has just been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Our follower’s advice

‘Actually I have 2, 1 to the person and the 2nd to the care givers:  1) The biggest problem with Epilepsy is not seizures its other people and their perceptions/attitude. 2) parents,guardians & carers go against you natural instincts and dont wrap someone up in cotton wool. Give them space to grow learn and make mistakes the usual way. Yes its tough on you as you will invariably have to pick up the pieces but it will be invaluable to the child/individual as they will learn not to be defined and constrained by their condition.’

‘never let your epilepsy beat you I got diagnosed 8 years ago I have a one year old baby I work and live a normal everyday life I’ve ran half marathons done the tough mudder and more events I thought things were going to be awful and went to a size 16 I’m now a size 10.’

‘I hate it !! But I’ve learnt to live with it. Don’t let it dictate your life x’

‘Don’t panic. Work with it, not against it.’

‘I have just recently been diagnosed with TLE and the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with is losing my driving licence which has been a complete life changer and very stressful at times. But I still believe you can still be happy as anyone else. You are just going to be living a bit differently from now on. And it’s ok to feel crap about it xxx’

‘Take each day as it comes and treat today as the gift it is…the present.’

‘That it’s not the end of the world. It just feels like it. But you will come to accept it and manage it the best that you can. That it’s more common than you think. And that it does not define who you are x’

‘Don’t fight the people around you who are trying to help, my big mistake.’

‘I’ve had epilepsy all my life, from the age of 18 months and I’m 34 this week. The one thing I would say is. Epilepsy is part of who you are. It’s a sucker, we learn differently and act differntly but we still human. Don’t let people think epilepsy is a big tabo to talk about. Coz it’s not.’

‘Make sure you get an appointment with a neurologist. They have a much better chance of helping you control your epilepsy than a GP.’

‘it means you have to do some thing differently sometimes but it will only stop you living your life if you let. You find your own coping mechanisms, I have a dark sense of humour that freaks people out sometimes if they aren’t used to me.’

‘Always look for the positive, get to know your body & brain. Stay away from booze.’

‘Just roll with it as best you can! The more you stress or get frustrated it just makes it worse and doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s hard when others don’t understand but don’t push them away most of the time they are doing there best x’

‘Do not let it take over your life. You will learn to adapt to certain restrictions life brings with epilepsy…but you can still have a fulfilled life in other ways. Just take care of yourself and be sensible with your decisions’

‘Remember to take the meds…and on time. ‘

‘People don’t understand what its like to think is it going to happen today, that feeling of just wanting to stay at home just incase, but you have to get past this and get help from others in the same position as yourself, joining my local epilepsy coffee and chat group has made me realise that there are people worse off than me and that I’ve just got to get on with it, not being able to drive is crap, it effects the whole family not just myself, I have really low days but just put on a brave face and get on with it! Don’t let it stop you living!’

‘Keep positive…life gets better x’

‘To know your not alone and to know it is good to talk. Xx’

‘Trust yourself and your body. You know your body better than anyone else possibly could. Try not to blame yourself. And for me that’s still really hard. Don’t give up. It’s not easy and is most definitely a life changer. But just love yourself as much as you can with all the trials and all the not knowings. The brain is a largely uncharted map and in hard times lean on that, on the people who truly love you and peace wherever it may be. And through your journey, as hard as it may be eliminate those who are negative and unsupportive. Educate yourself and others in your life and last but not least; the brain is a muscle too and it needs to be worked out. Keep on keeping on’

‘Don’t bottle your feelings up, talk to people who have epilepsy, it really helps a lot. Join epilepsy groups xx’

‘Take your meds regularly. Don’t skip them but if the side effects are unbearable, you CAN request to try a new drug. What is great for one person is terrible for another. Get the right drug for you.’

‘You are not alone x’

‘Get your free bus pass!’

‘It is still who you are. It teaches you to respect your body and pay attention to its signs. It makes you stronger while you have to talk about it to several people, sometimes ask for help… You can live a perfect life with epilepsy :)’

‘Don’t let it define you as a person, it’s only a part of you not all of you’

‘Be kind to yourself.’

‘Take your meds at the same time each day, get enough sleep and keep stress as low as possible. Don’t live in fear of having a seizure (easy to say but hard in reality) and try and live your life to the full.’

‘Try take it all in and learn about the medication and your triggers what starts it off and after that live your life to the best you can do. Dont let it become a label and drag you down rise above it and be yourself xxxx’

‘Talk , cry , love but most of all laughter has helped us stay positive’

‘Take every day as it comes! But don’t let epilepsy define you. The epilepsy society packs are amazing too so definately get yourself a few of those, and especially the just diagnosed pack – they help so much!!’

‘Just don’t give up on anything. You can live a full life with the right medication. And the most important thing: here you’re not alone.’

‘Patience. It’s a bumpy ride so keep strong. ‘

‘Research other people’s triggers. What’s okay for one person may not be for you. Sewing actually triggers me. (Focusing on Fast patterns)’

‘Sleep is important! Too little sleep can make seizures worse. While sleep can really help post siezure recovery.’

‘I know it’s hard, but please don’t give up. Don’t let epilepsy rule your life! ‘

‘You have just started a new chapter in your life. Epilepsy is not how you are, it is what you have. Be patient and learn what your body is telling you’

‘Hey plenty of rest and keep a regular routine with eating / sleeping xo’

‘Don’t panic. it’s not the end of the world and you can live a normal life’

‘It isn’t always life changing. The right meds might be the first you try x’

‘There are always better days. Relax and accept the dark days and know they’ll not last forever.’

‘Do not let it change your dreams goals & plans in life. It’s a condition we have to live with not let it rule our life. I have never let it get the better of me or my dreams goals & plans. I am a husband a dad run my own businesses stood as an independent candidate in last years general election! A personal goal from a young age. Epilepsy is not the end of your life journey it’s part of it!’

Our online social community

On our social media pages, we share information about epilepsy, news stories, blogs, personal stories and community posts such as the above. If you would like to join our online community, follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

via What one piece of advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed?

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[BLOG POST] Rebuilding your life after TBI makes for better Holidays

By Bill Herrin

I once heard the radio legend Paul Harvey say that life is a “do-it-yourself project.” It always stuck with me, and I saw many folks through the years that didn’t seem to grasp this simple, yet truthful mantra. I’m certain that Mr. Harvey wasn’t referring to survivors of TBI, but even they have a stake in what ends up happening in their lives…even when so much of their lives may feel out of control. Since every brain injury is completely different, one survivor can be social and fully aware of how they interact with others – where another may be dealing with more severe issues,  and would rather be left alone. That’s understood, and for that reason, this blog article is meant for folks to be able to “cherry pick” the things that suit their situation, their needs and their desires best. There is no “broad brush” approach implied or intended here! One size does not fit all.

Interaction Doesn’t Always Come Easy

I think the one thing that could be agreed upon is this: if you want interaction, conversation or inclusion – you need to be willing to make some effort. As if making a friend isn’t hard enough in this world, the complications of TBI make it more complex. Depending on your TBI, you will have different options, but here are some suggestions for starting to build a more rewarding life.

  • Find a support group that includes people with similar lives – a TBI survivor group, brain injury group, etc. If there’s no such thing where you live, then guess what – support groups are also a “do-it-yourself project”! If you dare to start one, you’ll officiate the meetings (consider sharing the responsibility with others, too), and possibly get the group going. Not only is it an achievement for you, but it’s also a blessing to all involved. This can build a small (or growing) circle of friends that have something in common. You’re on your way to building a portion of your life that is

    missing, and you will all have a sounding board, an outlet to discuss things in common, and just some fun time together. Be prepared in advance for any issues that may arise, as people are not perfect, and some may speak before they think…such is life.

  • Use social media to interact with others, especially those who have TBI in common. The safest way would be through moderated forums that are based around life with a TBI, etc. This keeps conversations on track, eliminates any bullying or threatening behaviors, etc. The best rule of thumb for social media is that it’s social, and society brings a huge variety of people with it! LOL
  • Find a church or synagogue that you like – maybe go to one you’re familiar with, or maybe you already attend one – either way, the other members can feel like

    family! You just may find some ways to get involved, as well as ways to have fun together. Churches and synagogues often provide great social inclusion, and acceptance of others…find your place among some encouraging folks, and you’ll be able to encourage them as well. That’s a nice payoff.

  • Find a coffee shop, library, bookstore, restaurant, etc. that you really like (or more than one!) and go there on a regular basis. If you go on a consistent basis (once or twice a week) you’ll start being recognized, and you’ll get to know others as well. If you’re shy, don’t rush things…sometimes it’s best to just show up, and the rest will take care of itself. If you’re not able to drive, see if someone you know can take you, and hang out with you for a bit. Two people together are safer and can start a conversation more readily. This is just for fun – so let things happen and enjoy the time away from home!!
  • If you’re physically able to go walking, or if you need a wheelchair, etc. – either way, get outside! There’s nothing quite like being out and about. As mentioned above, find a friend or relative that can go with you. If not, maybe in due time you’ll be able to be involved with a group that has the same goals of rebuilding their lives…and you can make a day of it together. The main thing is to think about doing things and look for the best opportunities to make them happen. Life is a do-it-yourself-

    project!

  • Find a job or volunteering position that suits you. These are great, and can benefit in more than one way. With a job, you’ll interact with people on a personal level, and you’ll also get paid! That’s a win-win! Volunteering for a cause that is near and dear to your heart is a good way to make a difference in your community too, and to make change in yourself. It may not pay, but the end results will be positive – social benefits, and sometimes volunteering can lead to part time work. As stated earlier, these may or may not be an option, as it will depend on your own situation. If it’s something you can do, it’s a great step to making friends that live in your home area. Work it!

Inclusion and Exclusion

The final part of this article (which actually was the intended goal) is that if you work at making your life well-rounded, work to meet people (and make a friend, or friends), strive to be more social (even if it’s scary), and find some places to find inclusion, inspiration, and socialization…you’ll have folks that you can call on via phone, texting, through social media, at your church or synagogue, at places you frequently visit, at work/volunteering, and also other friends & family members…all of these combine into making up your new normal. Your new Life 2.0!

The Holiday season is one of those times of year when people can feel down, forgotten, maybe they really aren’t included. When you work on being more social, encourage those who need it (and in turn, you’re encouraged too), and work to be more active in your community (church/synagogue, volunteering, etc.) …the Holidays will be much brighter, as well as your life throughout the year! Be encouraged. Be encouraging. It’s funny how those two go hand in hand. It’s my wish that you have fun this (and every) upcoming Holiday season. Make the best of it and work your plan year-round to build the life you deserve. It’s a do-it-yourself project, and with determination, you can make it better and better…and always remember, there’s always someone that needs love and encouragement more than you do. Be an encourager to others. You’ll find there’s nothing that feels better than being the light in someone’s life that truly needs it! Happy Holidays!

via Rebuilding your life after TBI makes for better Holidays

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[BLOG POST] One day at a time. Cognition and Caregiving after a TBI

By Bill Herrin

Thinking comes so naturally that most people take it for granted, but after a traumatic brain injury – many times, thinking can be more of a deliberate action. It takes focus and effort to put a series of thoughts together after TBI, to speak clearly, or to even move. Simply put, the brain (like the body) takes time to heal. Since no two brain injuries are identical, there is no clear path to better cognition. There are, however, certain broad directives that can get you moving in the right direction in most situations. The hardest part of this is to accept your “new normal”. Acceptance, once you come to terms with it, gives you the desire to work toward the goal of better cognition, coordination, memory, anger management, judgement, attention, and other challenges. Once you accept your situation isn’t going to change overnight, you can start the process of healing, along with testing your limitations. Although finding your limitations is difficult, knowing what they are is a huge step towards improvement in areas that need changing. When a person lacks enough cognition to be self-aware or to strive towards improvement, that’s a test for the caregiver’s guidance and patience. Sometimes just being there for your friend, spouse, or loved one is all you can do.

As a caregiver, high expectations from a TBI survivor shouldn’t be overly discouraged, as they can bring progress through their desire to improve. They may not reach the goal they wanted to, but they’ll make strides towards it! That is positivity in its purest form. Nobody wants to be working through such a huge change in their life without encouragement – cheer them onward and upward! Even if they fail, they are trying, and that shows initiative. Their desire to improve should never be underappreciated.

When cognition is in the early stages of improvement, the changes may be noticed more by the family or caregiver than they are by the survivor. Sometimes incremental change is just too subtle for survivors to realize, but pointing out the changes to them is incredibly positive reinforcement. The following tips on cognition are excerpted from Lash & Associates’ tip card titled “Cognition – Compensatory strategies after brain injury”

Cognitive fatigue is one of the most common consequences of brain injury. The survivor’s brain is simply working harder to think and learn. Cognitive rest is just as important – maybe even more important – as physical rest after the brain has been injured. Cognitive fatigue can have a ripple effect. You may have a shorter temper, find it harder to concentrate, make more errors, misplace things or forget appointments. You may feel like you can’t think straight no matter how hard you try. Many survivors describe cognitive fatigue as “hitting the wall”.

Do you…

• Feel tired after mental exertion?

• Have a harder time thinking after working on longer or more complex tasks?

• Need more sleep than usual?

• Find it hard to get through the day without napping?

 

Tips on compensatory strategies…

• Take breaks.

• Schedule rest periods.

• Stay organized.

• Use a daily planner.

• Use time management strategies.

• Eat nutritious meals on a regular schedule.

• Go to bed at a consistent time.

– Create a weekly exercise routine.

• Request a medical evaluation.

• Discuss medications that may help with a physician specializing in brain injury rehabilitation.

There are a plenty of great suggestions for compensatory strategies for survivors and their caregivers in the tip card referenced above. Here’s a link to it here!

 

When it comes to cognitive functional rehabilitation – seek professional advice first (of course), but when the TBI survivor is at home with a caregiver, clinician, friend or family member, there are some great approaches to working on communication, social interaction, organization, reading, attention, problem solving, and rebuilding other deficits through consistent application by any or all of the people involved in the care of the TBI survivor.

Referencing the book titled “Cognition Functional Rehabilitation Activities Manual” (Developed by Barbara Messenger, MEd, ABDA and Niki Ziarnek, MS, CCC-SLP/L), I’m sharing an excerpt that provides a glimpse into the workbook’s approach to helping a person with cognitive challenges. Many of the exercises use interaction and documentation to assess where the TBI survivor is at (cognitively speaking) on an ongoing basis. Remember, this is a workbook, and there are plenty of exercises that build activities and responses ongoing. Here is the example of how the manual challenges a TBI survivor with structured and specific activities:

Task: Provide awareness training.

Procedure:

  1. Prompt participant to work on awareness training.
  2. Ask why participant is here receiving rehabilitation.
  3. Ask what skills/activities are harder since the brain injury.
  4. Ask what participant does to compensate for these difficulties and which therapies address them.Ask what participant’s strengths are (what is participant good at?).
  1. Ask the participant how the brain injury and difficulties affect daily activities.
  2. Provide answers and examples when needed.
  3. Provide positive reinforcement for strengths, being receptive to information regarding brain injury, for participating in the task, and for being motivated to participate in rehabilitation.

Staff Reminder: (clinician, caregivers, family, etc.)

Provide a complete description of this activity in the Functional Rehabilitation Documentation Form.

Last words…

By asking specific questions, and recording the corresponding answers, this workbook is a great tool for tracking progress – and the exercises can be done more than once, to check and see how/if the answers have changed. So, what’s the takeaway from this excerpt? It illustrates that structure and consistency of care and treatment by family/caregivers and professionals can overlap and create a solid overview of cognitive deficits, and improvements.

In closing, the main goal of this post is to address the expectations of TBI survivors and their caregivers, to encourage them to strive for progress and to offer resources for compensatory strategies, and cognitive rehabilitation. If all parties work in tandem with the common goal of helping a TBI survivor make it to the next level, they’re all closer to the goal…and the whole team wins. That’s the goal!

via cognition-caregiving-tbi

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