Posts Tagged Mobile Apps

[REVIEW] A review of mobile apps for epilepsy self-management. – Abstract

Abstract

Mobile health app developers increasingly are interested in supporting the daily self-care of people with chronic conditions. The purpose of this study was to review mobile applications (apps) to promote epilepsy self-management. It investigates the following:

  1. the available mobile apps for epilepsy,
  2. how these apps support patient education and self-management (SM), and
  3. their usefulness in supporting management of epilepsy.

We conducted the review in Fall 2017 and assessed apps on the Apple App Store that related to the terms “epilepsy” and “seizure”. Inclusion criteria included apps (adult and pediatric) that, as follows, were:

  1. developed for patients or the community;
  2. made available in English, and
  3. less than $5.00.

Exclusion criteria included apps that were designed for dissemination of publications, focused on healthcare providers, or were available in other languages. The search resulted in 149 apps, of which 20 met the selection criteria. A team reviewed each app in terms of three sets of criteria:

  1. epilepsy-specific descriptions and SM categories employed by the apps and
  2. Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) subdomain scores for reviewing engagement, functionality, esthetics, and information; and
  3. behavioral change techniques.

Most apps were for adults and free. Common SM domains for the apps were treatment, seizure tracking, response, and safety. A number of epilepsy apps existed, but many offered similar functionalities and incorporated few SM domains. The findings underline the need for mobile apps to cover broader domains of SM and behavioral change techniques and to be evaluated for outcomes.

 

via A review of mobile apps for epilepsy self-management. – PubMed – NCBI

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[WEB SITE] 31 Strategies for Living with Traumatic Brain Injury – BrainLine

by Melissa Johnson, Bringing the Battle Home
31 Strategies for Living with Traumatic Brain Injury
Caregiver blogger, Melissa Johnson, shares 31 tips and strategies she uses to help her husband cope with his TBI in a more effective manner.

1. Use a Mobile Calendar App

I created a calendar for Sean in my iPhone and shared it with him (see brief instructions below or click here). Now I can add his appointments, meetings, and trips on my phone and he is able to access them through the app on his iPhone and iPad. In addition to time and date, I can add the location or notes for the event. The app allows me set alerts which come across both our mobile devices as notifications. I normally set alerts a day in advance and an hour in advance to allow  me time to remind him and avoid last-minute surprise. Using the calendar also helps me track his events that aren’t on my personal schedule (such as VFW meetings). I check the calendar each night and remind Sean of the next day’s schedule. It’s handy because i can manage it for him, see any items he adds himself, and view my own calendar at the same time.

Open the iPhone’s calendar app and click on “Calendars”:

Open the iPhone's calendar app and click on Calendars

Select “Edit” under iCloud Calendars:

Select Edit under iCloud Calendars

Select “Add Calendar” and follow instructions for naming calendar:

Select Add Calendar and follow instructions for naming calendar

Select “Add Person” to share the calendar:

Select Add Person to share the calendar

2. Sign up for Cozi

Visit cozi.com and sign up for their shared online calendar (I use the free version). Cozi offers shared calendars and lists that can be accessed by any family members with login information on their computers or mobile devices. You can opt to text individual mobile devices with appointments and notes automatically. I use Cozi to send Sean text messages each day reminding him to take medications and when to eat meals. I have the texts sent to my phone as well so I can verbally remind him (in case I lose track of time). There is room to add notes to each event, so messages sent can be as detailed as needed.

3. Develop a White Board Schedule

We started with a very detailed daily schedule to help Sean remember the progression of each day’s tasks. It worked well for a time, then reached a point where it overwhelmed him visually and cognitively. We now use a simpler version and combine it with text reminders for medications, meals etc. and verbal reminders.

Develop a White Board Schedule

Develop a White Board Schedule

4. Hold Daily Meetings

Choose a time of day that is structured (not over dinner, while doing homework with the kids, or while distracted with other activities) and is a typically a good time of day for focus. Sean and I chose to have our meetings each morning. This time was set aside to review the day’s activities, discuss needs, and address any military or VA issues or answer questions he had (to avoid fixating on these issues all day long—which had become a huge problem). We recorded a few notes in a notebook so he could look back at the discussion if he had questions later in the day, or needed a reminder of what we decided. Gradually, we have moved away from structured meetings since we don’t deal with the same volume of VA and military issues at the moment, and instead do a brief check in each morning to cover his schedule. I also check the calendar on Sunday night and alert him to upcoming activities and appointments for the week ahead.

5. Use a Timer

Time can be difficult to track for a person with a TBI. Setting a timer can help add structure to the day, aid in staying on task, and improve efficiency and independence. Try setting a timer to:

  • Break tasks into smaller steps
  • Allow for scheduled breaks
  • Set start or end times for activities
  • Allow transition time

6. Use Labels

TBI can make it difficult to remember where items are stored, and looking through multiple cupboards and drawers can add frustration. We use a system of labels around the house to locate key items.  After our home remodel a couple years ago, Sean found the increased number of light switches especially confusing, so I labeled those as well. You may want to label drawers, cupboard doors, bathroom cabinets, nightstand drawers, storage in the garage, etc. to fit the needs in your home.

Use Labels

It can also be confusing, and even frightening, to operate appliances or equipment. Sean struggled for months to operate the new microwave since the buttons were different. Our new flat-top stove was a particular concern as the burners have options for different sized pans, and the surface stays hot long after the burner is turned off. I printed brief instructions for each appliance, mounted on a magnetic sheet, and covered with laminating film so they can be wiped clean, if needed. We also used orange bump dots to mark the buttons he may  need to use most to make them more visible.

Laminate labels so they can be wiped clean.

Laminte labels so they can be wiped clean.

It’s easy to forget the items you need when you leave the house. I hang notes on doors (try colored Post It notes), and set necessary items on a chair next to the back door where they will be visible on the way out. I also made magnetic notes for items Sean needs each time he leaves the house.

Magnetic notes for items Sean needs each time he leaves the house.

7. Keep Things in the Same Location

When our daughter was home last summer she helped put groceries away and moved the yogurt to the opposite side of the refrigerator shelf. Sean thought we were out of yogurt for days when in fact we had plenty–just in the wrong spot. The same happens if I wash a bag of carrots and put them in a Tupperware bowl to preserve freshness. I now label that container so he knows what’s inside (the same for fresh cut fruit or vegetables) with reusable wipe-off labels.

Staying organized is a matter of establishing a habit for most of us. Many times I can’t find my wallet, keys, or phone if I put them in new locations. We have a shelf by the door for Sean’s keys and wallet. His medications for the day go on the same counter each morning. His chargers stay plugged in next to his nightstand. His hearing aids stay on top of the dresser. He has a small set of stacking drawers on his dresser for extra keys, cords, and eyeglasses. This routine aids with memory when he can’t locate an item.

8. Simplify Household Chores

Keep chores simple. We have learned that multi-step instructions or long lists of tasks overwhelm Sean’s brain and result in nothing being accomplished. To enable him to be helpful and avoid nagging we’ve come up with our own system.

Sean has a few tasks that he is in charge of completing. I can remind him with a note on the counter, but then allow plenty of time for him to complete the job independently. He is in charge of taking out the trash, feeding the dogs in the afternoon, keeping his area in the basement clean and organized, and putting away leftovers after each meal. In order to ensure he is completing chores independently, I do not step in to take over or redo what he has done. This means the trash might sit in the porch for a couple days until he remembers to pick it up and take it outside (though I remind him more frequently if it has food waste or it’s hot outside).

Sean still enjoys maintaining our home and yard, although he’s not able to do many tasks independently. He is no longer able to safely mow the lawn or shovel the snow. Since I have no desire to do either, our solution was to locate dependable people who offer those services and make it Sean’s job to call them when needed. At times it takes a day or two for him to remember to make the call, but the responsibility for doing so is solely his. He also calls to schedule car maintenance or home repair and I help him identify the person to call when necessary.

It’s important to note that changes in our routine (illness, pain, travel, company) will disrupt his routine and we will need to start over getting him back on track.

9. Create a Safe Space

Sensory overload and stress can lead to fatigue, anxiety, and anger. Having a safe space to retreat and decompress is an easy way to take time away and calm down or rest. Choose a quiet place that can be dedicated to relaxing activities. Equip this space with whatever you find comforting: TV, headphones, computer, comfortable chair, puzzles, books, etc. It is helpful to have items dedicated only to this space, with spares for other areas of the house, so this area is always prepared and ready.

When spending time at the home of relatives or friends, try to identify a safe space ahead of time. Talk to the host about the purpose of this space and ask them to help you select a location. Bring portable headphones, laptop, iPad, books, etc. in a back pack as a “mobile safe space.” Prepare ahead of time by discussing the plan and visit the safe area when you arrive.

Be aware of clues. For example, if Sean disappears with no notice I know he is taking down time and doesn’t need my support, but if he is seeking my attention, he needs me to direct him to the safe area and help him get settled in. He may need pain meds or extra support.

It may also be helpful to choose a safe word or code word that can be used during times of distress.

10. Using Tools to Aid Memory

Highlighters and Post-It notes or sticky tabs are great for marking important information in books, binders, and manuals. They are also handy if you print emails, memos, or meeting notes.

Digital recorders can be used to record meetings or classes, but can also be used to keep audio notes or reminders throughout the day. Most smart devices have digital recorders built in, so there is no need to purchase a separate device.

Lists can serve a variety of purposes. Sean is currently using a small whiteboard to track his to-do items for bike camp along with his weekly schedule. He keeps a Post-It note on the counter where he can jot down things he needs me to know (which can range from grocery items to appointments or tasks) and I can add to the calendar or to my own list. We also keep a list of his goals on the bulletin board along with a list of upcoming travel dates. The key is keeping all these lists in one location so he knows where to find them.

11. Track Health and Activity

It is important to document health changes and symptoms to identify patterns and track changes over time. Many times when doctors ask Sean how has been feeling, his answer is based on how he is feeling at the moment because he can’t recall how his mood or pain has been over the past few weeks or months since he last saw the doctor.

I make brief notes each day on Sean’s level and type of pain, if he uses additional medications, his sleep quality, nightmares, periods of confusion, etc. along with his activity levels such as riding his bike, walking his dog, or attending events and meetings. This enables us to give his providers the most accurate picture of his overall health and activity.

12. Manage Medications

Medication errors can be harmful or even fatal. Be sure to keep all medications in a safe place (we use a small safe) out of reach of children. Store medications in their original containers with pharmacy labels intact. Double check dates on labels for expiration and refill information.

Since Sean takes many daily pills, we use a pill sorter designed to hold a week’s worth of medication and divided into slots for AM, noon, and PM medications (the Velcro at the top of each box is to help him identify the AM container due to diminished vision). Occasionally, Sean gets confused and takes pills from the wrong slot at the wrong time of day, so we use a small jar with a lid to avoid confusion.

We keep an up-to-date printed list of medications in the safe, my purse, Sean’s wallet, and with emergency information.

If you receive prescriptions from the VA, you can use My HealtheVet to manage prescriptions and refills.

For more information, read this article about VA prescriptions from Family Of a Vet.

13. Find a Hobby

Keeping the mind and body active is an effective tool against depression, anxiety, and even pain. After an injury, it can be difficult to stay active and enjoy the same activities as before. Finding a hobby is one way to stay connected with others and constructively deal with stress and tension.

Exploring different hobbies can open your mind to new and creative endeavors. Engage local friends and family members to increase your amount of social interaction. Check your local area for hobby groups that have clubs or meetings. Take a class to learn something new.

Take time to explore alternatives and get connected with groups that offer adaptive sporting programs like Challenge Aspen Military OpportunitiesLakeshore Foundation’s Lima Foxtrot programUSABA, and Higher Ground (a few of many available to veterans). Building new skills is an excellent strategy for coping with changes in your life.

Volunteer activities can also offer a fantastic outlet and can become a hobby of sorts, too. The focus is on finding new activities to keep you active and healthy.

14. Allow More Time to Complete Activities

Cognitive deficits due to TBI can cause a variety of processing and attention difficulties. The following are key areas that can impact success when completing tasks and activities:

  • Difficulty sustaining concentration for a period of time
  • Inability to filter or combine information
  • Losing track of time
  • Fixating on one aspect of the task, unable to move forward
  • Inability to make decisions, or making quick decisions which are not thought out
  • Memory and confusion issues
  • Slower processing time

It is important to allow time to think and respond, and provide prompting as necessary. Good ways to assist include:

  • Be generous with wait time.
  • Limit the number of steps.
  • Use note cards or prompts.
  • Remember building toward independence is a process.

15. Use Photo Albums to Aid in Memory

Several years ago Sean and my dad went on a fly fishing trip to Sun Valley Idaho. A few weeks later a friend asked Sean about the trip. Sean gave a blank stare and said he hadn’t been on a fishing trip. Several other times Sean has had difficulty remembering the events of trips, and the people he has met. I have put together small albums from each trip to help Sean recall these events. I have used labels to help him identify people. We look at the photos together and talk about what he did that he enjoyed. Slowly, people he has met multiple times have stuck in his memory. It’s handy when he asks questions about a trip, or about someone he’s met, to have the photos close at hand.

16. Use a Script

That might sound funny at first, but it’s incredibly helpful. I have found over the years that having scripts for the children when they are assisting Sean can make for a much smoother visit. I have included a few examples. Be sure to make note of what works in your individual situation.

Our daughter was staying with Sean and he was requesting to eat out every night. She had purchased groceries and was getting frustrated with his wanting to change her plans every night. I explained that he was probably getting hungry and making suggestions simply as a way to solve his hunger problem. I told her that as it neared dinner time she should tell him, “I’m making ____ for dinner tonight. It will be ready around 6:00.” The simple act of making him aware of what was coming next was enough to put him at ease.

When he gets anxious in public we practice using calming words such as, “We will be finished shortly.” “I understand your frustration, let’s finish up and get out of here.” “If you need to leave, just let me know.” Hearing the phrases he is used to helps him remain calm, and helps whoever is assisting him know what to do in tense situations.

When Sean is having a migraine the pain is normally compounded by confusion. He repeatedly gets out of bed, or asks what he should be doing. It is helpful to say, “You need to lay down (take a pill, use an ice pack, stay still) until you are feeling better. That’s your only job right now.” I may need to repeat it a few times, but it works much more effectively than trying to answer each question or concern he raises.

17. Manage Stress

Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way.  Stress can also impair cognition, processing, and memory, and prolonged stress can wreak havoc on the entire body.  It’s important to take time to restore the balance in your body and brain on a regular basis. Here are a few ways you can recover from and reduce the stress in your life.

  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Practice good sleep habits.
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar intake.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Take time to connect with others.
  • Find activities that replenish your soul.

18. Stick to a Routine

Individuals with brain injury may have difficulty planning and organizing their daily tasks. It is helpful to plan out a consistent routine at home that is predictable. Get up at the same time each day. Perform hygiene tasks in the same order. Eat scheduled meals. Use checklists where necessary to help stay on track. Predictability can reduce anxiety about the unknown and consistency will increase the level of independence in the home.

19. Travel Wisely

Travel can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. Being prepared can ensure your travel plans go as smoothly as possible.

Use a specific packing list. Sean often means to pack an item, or thinks he has it when he doesn’t. Having a list to check off allows him to pack independently and be confident he has all he needs.

Bring enough medications (prescription and over-the-counter as needed). Include an extra day or two to allow a buffer should travel plans change. Be sure to include extra pain medications. Always keep medications and any critical care items in your carry-on baggage should flights be canceled or delayed

Pack a variety of comfort items and activities such as a travel pillow and blanket, books or audio books, portable electronic device loaded with music or games, headphones, and snacks. Sean packs the items he needs in his backpack whether we are flying or driving so he has them close at hand.

If you have a service dog, be sure to include treats and comfort items along with necessary care tools and plenty of food. Keep the dog’s critical items in your carry-on baggage. It’s helpful to have ADA guidelines available along with service animal guidelines from the Air Carrier Access Act (see Seat Assignments page 6) should you encounter any questions or concerns about your service animal.

If driving, be prepared to make stops along the way and allow break time.

When flying, allow enough time to comfortably get through security and to gates on time. TSA offers a service for disabled veterans that will provide assistance at the airport. Contact the TSA Cares Helpline for more information.

When you arrive at your destination, allow time to settle in before starting activities.

If you are staying in a hotel, locate nearby restaurants or choose a hotel with a restaurant onsite. Dine at off-peak hours to avoid crowds.

If using public transportation, study the routes and fares ahead of time. Have taxi fare and reliable cab company numbers on hand. If driving, know the best routes around town and the locations of your destinations.

Have a clear (but flexible) itinerary with planned breaks and meal times.

Remember that when you return home extra recovery time will be needed before starting your normal routine.

20. Prepare Simple Meals

One of Sean’s goals is to help plan and prepare meals a couple times a week. Sean received training in safe cooking techniques during his blind rehab programs and is interested in becoming more independent in the kitchen.

  • Plan the menu and shopping list. Choose meals with fewer steps to follow.
  • Store all items in one spot with a label in the cupboard and/or refrigerator.
  • Use a tray to gather ingredients at preparation time. Gather needed cooking utensils in the same fashion. Have a timer available.
  • Use recipe cards with clear steps. Follow all steps in order and use the timer to signal when it’s time for the next step.
  • Practice kitchen safety.
  • Include clean up as part of meal prep.

Store all items in one spot with a label in the cupboard and/or refrigerator.Store all items in one spot with a label in the cupboard and/or refrigerator.

You might also try make-ahead freezer meals that can be reheated by following instructions taped to the container. Convenience meals such as microwave meals, frozen dinners, or sandwiches are another easy way to share in the cooking responsibilities.

21. Prepare for Absence or Illness

Preparing to be away from home (or, gasp! sick) can be incredibly stressful. By planning ahead of time (when possible) you can make your absence easier for all parties. Pre-planning is especially valuable when absences come as a surprise.

Identify how the care recipient will:

  • get to and from appointments, meetings, and outings
  • get meals or groceries (and/or remember to prepare and eat meals)
    • stock up on microwaveable meals, canned goods, frozen foods, juices
  • remember to take medications
  • care for pets
  • stay on a sleep schedule
  • clean up

Identify people who can assist with daily tasks, or who can stop by during the day to check in.

Have a list of emergency number on hand.

Have copies of medication lists, doctors, insurance information in a central location.

Help your loved one identify what he/she can do to help you. Being helpful and providing care for you is an easy way to put anxieties to rest.

22. Emergency Information

Always carry emergency information in your wallet or purse. This information should include medical conditions, doctors’ information, current medications, and insurance information along with any emergency contact numbers.

As an added measure, you might consider a free AVBI Medical Alert Tag and ID Cardthrough American Veterans with Brain Injuries.

A new option available for purchase is My ID band which allows medical professionals to electronically access your emergency information.

Smart phone users can download an app such as ICE (In Case of Emergency) which displays emergency information on the lock screen in case you are in an accident.

23. Create an Emergency Binder

I know what to do in an emergency involving Sean. I carry his critical medical information and know his history. But what if an accident occurred and I was not the person on the scene? What if something happened to me, would he know what to do? Creating an Emergency Binder could literally save a life.

Things to include:

  • Personal Information (for each family member): name, SSN, DOB, height, weight
  • Copies of insurance cards, VA ID card, military ID
  • Allergy information
  • Names of doctors with specialties and contact information
  • Brief medical history, including any mental health conditions
  • Current medications and dosages with prescriber and pharmacy information
  • Emergency contact numbers for family members
  • Copies of legal documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Living Will, and Advance Directives

If you are interested in a free, ready-made packet you can print and fill in, email me at melissa@familyofavet.com and I will send to you.

Also, be sure to post emergency numbers in a visible location and include suicide hotline numbers.

24. Use Apps

Check out these Life-Changing Mobile Apps for People with Brain Injury.

From this list Sean uses Audible, Cozi, ICE, Lumosity, PTSD Coach, Dragon Dictation, Breathe2Relax, and T2 Mood Tracker. Check them out and see what might work for your situation.

Sean also uses Brain Fit and Brain Trainer apps occasionally. He has the MyLocation app which allows a user to find their location and share with others. Sean’s is set up to send me his location if he is confused or lost.

25. Educate Family and Friends

It can be incredibly difficult for family members and friends to understand the changes that happen after injury. This is especially true when dealing with an invisible injury like TBI. It’s important to have a support system that includes loved ones, which means you may need to take an active role as educator to help them understand how the injury has impacted the immediate family, as well as the care recipient, and how they can best be of assistance.

Be prepared to have difficult conversations. Whether discussing care concerns or expressing a need for space and privacy, conversations with family members can be touchy post injury.

Have realistic expectations. Every member of the team has different abilities, skills, comfort levels, and limitations.

Be clear about who is in charge of making care decisions, and what medical information will be shared.

Share strategies that work. Encourage others to get involved in positive ways by following the model that works for you.

Make necessary adaptations for holidays and events. Discuss strategies for success in advance.

Most importantly, be sure all members are educated about the nature of the disability and expected outcomes. Share information on TBI that you find helpful. You can find tons of helpful articles and videos at BrainlineBrainline Military, and Family Of a Vet. Also check out Brain Injury Association of America and American Veterans with Brain Injuries. Visit your local county extension office, or do a quick google search, for local brain injury agencies or support groups.

26. Keep a Journal

Journaling has been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve overall feelings of self-worth. Taking time each day to jot down notes about the events of the day and how you felt throughout the day is an excellent tool to help get in touch with emotions and process feelings. By reading through previous journal entries you can identify common stressors or triggers and develop a plan for positive coping strategies when those triggers arise. Depending on your preference, a personal journal can be shared with doctors or counselors for more insight.

For those with TBI, a journal can also serve as a reference book to record events and memories. It’s easy to look back and see when something happened, or browse through entries to refresh your memory.

If paper and pencil isn’t your thing, or you’re on the go, try using a digital voice recorder to dictate your journal entries

27. Keep it Simple

Eliminate what you can. Think you can’t? Start by reviewing activities for each family member. Evaluate your choices. Why are you involved with each activity? Is this activity meaningful and necessary? Does this activity enrich our lives in long-term ways? If not, consider eliminating it. Keep in mind that the goal is to streamline your home life and relieve stress and tension from your family.

Consider your options. You won’t be the world’s worst parent if you don’t attend every single game. Talk to other parents about carpooling to activities. There are usually other parents who would be relieved by a rotating schedule. If a season-long program doesn’t fit into your schedule, check into local day camps or classes your child could attend. Choose activities where your child is adequately supervised and time is structured to gain time for yourself. Use this time to run errands, or, bring a good book and enjoy a little down time.

Don’t do things simply because you’re feeling pressured. While it may be easier to say “yes” in the moment, think about how you will feel once you are obligated. If it’s not the right choice for you say “no” and stick to it.

What can you outsource? Do you have a neighbor who can share carpooling duties to and from school? Is there a friend or family member who can take the kids off-site for playdates? Can you afford to have someone come in to clean or have groceries delivered? Check with your local VA facilities, veterans’ organizations, or churches for additional resources and services.

Be honest about your needs and limitations. Many times people want to help but don’t know how.

Utilize available services such as Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Recreation Therapy along with services through any available caregiver programs. These trained professionals have a wealth of information and resources.

Forgive yourself. No one is prepared for major life changes. It’s ok to not have all the answers or to not have your sh*t together all the time. We all struggle to get through the day at times and find it takes much longer to recover after setbacks or when new issues arise.

28. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep is essential to good physical and mental health. When you don’t get enough sleep memory, concentration, coordination, and mood are negatively impacted. Lack of sleep over a period of time causes your physical health to decline and can lead to increased depression and anxiety. Sean’s nightmares, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and chronic pain all have a negative impact on his quality and quantity of sleep (and mine!). Sleep medications help with some of the symptoms, but don’t solve the problem.

To combat sleep deprivation and allow your body as much rest as possible, establish a sleep schedule by going to be and waking at set times each day.  Take naps, if needed, early in the day. Avoid if napping disrupts nighttime sleep.

Turn off electronics. Keep the room dark and cool. Make the bedroom a quiet space, or use a white noise machine to create an audibly peaceful environment. Invest in a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding.

Avoid caffeine and sugar after dinner, and don’t eat large meals late in the day. Alcohol and nicotine can also be factors in quality of sleep.

Take time to unwind before bedtime. Read, meditate, or practice deep breathing exercises. Take a warm bath. Listen to soothing music. Dim the lights. This can help your body and brain get into sleep mode.

29. Encourage Independence

Independence is a critical component of recovery after TBI. While your loved one may not be able to do all their former activities to the same extent as before the injury, implementing support and modifications can maximize independence.

  • Set realistic goals and start small.
  • Create an environment for success. Have needed materials on hand in areas where they are easy to access.
  • Use checklists or verbal prompts where possible.
  • Practice safety and good judgement.
  • Give immediate, constructive feedback. Use praise and encouragement.
  • Accept that mistakes will happen and make modifications when necessary.
  • Connect with others who will encourage independence in or out of the home.

30. Use Praise and Positive Affirmations

A little praise can go a long way toward boosting a person’s mood and creating a positive pattern of behavior and interaction.

  • Remember to say, “Thank you.” Even for the small things like taking out the trash (even if it takes several days to get it done) or wiping off the table.
  • Leave little notes of appreciation around the house.
  • Share your pride in their accomplishments.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.

31. Resources

Looking for additional information on traumatic brain injury? Check out these websites:

Additional resources and reading material available on tabs at the top of this page.

Posted on BrainLine October 25, 2016

About the Author

Melissa and Sean JohnsonMelissa Johnson and her husband, Sean, were married in 1995 and raised their three children in Aberdeen, SD. Melissa taught for 15 years in Special Education and First Grade. Sean served in the US Army and was deployed three times in his 24-year career in the military. Sean was injured by a mortar blast on March 25, 2006, in Balad, Iraq. The blast resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Sean is also legally blind and struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

When Sean returned home in 2007, the family struggled to adjust to this “new” man in their house. Melissa eventually left her teaching job to become a full-time caregiver to her husband. She is now a certified caregiver through the VA’s Caregiver Program.

Both Melissa and Sean have been active with the Blinded Veterans Association since 2009. Sean serves as Commander of his local VFW chapter and is also the Junior Vice of the local Disabled American Veterans chapter. Melissa currently works with the Military and Veteran Caregiver Network as the Education and Training Coordinator. She serves with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as a Caregiver Fellow. She is honored to work alongside other caregivers from across the nation to raise awareness of the issues facing our nation’s caregivers and families.

Read more from Melissa on her blog: Bringing the Battle Home

via 31 Strategies for Living with Traumatic Brain Injury | BrainLine

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[WEB SITE] Life-Changing Mobile Apps for People with Brain Injury – BrainLine

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Almost every day, we hear of new mobile device applications (“apps”) developed for just about everything — from staying organized to finding pharmacies or restaurants while on the road. It’s hard to keep up.

The BrainLine team sorted through many resources to compile this list of apps for mobile devices for people with a brain injury, their families and caregivers.

Some of these apps have proven to be especially helpful for people with brain injury. The phone can be used to remind you of an upcoming appointment or to take medication, or it can be used like a traditional paper notebook to keep all your addresses, telephone numbers, calendar items, lists, and ideas. Please note that BrainLine does not endorse these or any specific products.

Organize and sort the mobile apps in this table by clicking on the title of the column you would like to sort by. Or view our slideshows of iOS apps or Android apps.

 

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Name Description Price Device Helps With
Audible Listen to books on your mobile device. Great for people who have trouble reading or who retain information more effectively by listening. Free iOS, Android Reading
Answers:YesNo Easy to use, affordable way for you to communicate with those around you if you are nonverbal. The app has two, large, color-coordinated buttons–one for yes, and one for no. Press either, and a voice will read you selection. $1.99 iOS Communication
Awesome Memory Card game to help you improve your memory. All of the cards are laid face down on a surface and players take turns flipping two cards face up. The object of the game is to reveal pairs of matching cards. Similar to the traditional game of “concentration.” * Paid version available that includes advanced levels and functionality. Free* iPad Memory
Behavior Tracker Pro Application that allows caregivers, behavioral therapists, aides, or teachers to track behaviors and automatically graph them. Option to record video of behaviors or interventions to later review with doctors, parents, teachers or therapists. $29.99 iOS Behavior
Breathe2Relax Hands-on stress management tool with diaphragmatic breathing exercises. Designed to help you with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. Free iOS, Android PTSD, Anxiety, Stress
Clear Record Premium Audio recording app that suppresses ambient, background noise allowing the user to record conversations in noisy environments while maintaining clear voices. Control play-speed without modifying pitch-quality. Slow down conversations to a manageable pace for the user. $0.99 iOS, Android Speech, Communication
Concussion Recognition & Response Helps coaches and parents recognize whether an individual is exhibiting/reporting the signs and symptoms of a suspected concussion. In less than 5 minutes, the app allows a coach or parent to respond quickly to determine whether to remove the child from play and the need for further medical examination. Free iOS, Android Concussion Screening
Corkulous Pro Collect, organize, and share ideas on virtual cork boards. “Pin” notes, labels, photos, contacts, and tasks. Group ideas visually on one board or spread ideas out across multiple boards. $4.99 iOS Organization
Cozi Family Organizer Family life organization app that includes a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, family journal. This app allows you to stay in sync with your family. * Paid version available for advanced functionality. Free* iOS, Android Organization
d2u Dictation and Transcription Voice recorder with integrated transcription service* provides you with a comprehensive dictation and transcription solution. Record, edit, and upload a digital recording then have the file transcribed to text. HIPAA compliant. * Transcriptions are a paid feature. *Free iOS Communication
DialSafe Pro Learn proper phone usage and safety with an app that allows for hands-on practice. Learn these critical skills through the use of animated lessons, skill building games, practice sessions, and a realistic phone simulator. Free iOS Life-Skills
Dragon Dictation Voice recognition app that allows users to easily speak and instantly see their words on the screen. Send short text messages, longer email messages, and update your Facebook and Twitter statuses without typing a word. Free iOS Communication
Evernote Help remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, and make notes completely searchable. Free iOSWeb, Android Organization
Find a Pharmacy Immediately find the closest pharmacies to your location based on your device’s location or address. Free iOS Locating Services
Find My iPhone Location app for iOS that tracks wireless devices and enables a you to track where the devices are, where they have been, and enables you to send warning messages or tones to those devices. Free iOS Memory, Location Monitoring
Flashcards Deluxe Flashcard app which can be used to study just about anything you want. Built in dictionary, capacity to include pictures and sounds, zoom into pictures, and auto-repeat sounds on the cards. $3.99 iOS, Android Memory
Hello My Name Is Use your fingers to write or draw your own personalized “hello my name is” name tag. Good for conferences or situations where a digital name tag may help you stand out. Free Android Social Situations
iBooks with VoiceOver Search and instantly download thousands of popular book and magazine titles. iBooks works with VoiceOver, which will read the contents of the pages out loud. Free iOS Hearing, Reading
ICE (In Case of Emergency) Store all the information you might need in an emergency in one convenient location. Names of doctors, medications you are taking, medical conditions, allergies, and insurance information can be accessed with the tap of a finger. You can also use the app to find hospitals nearby in case of an emergency. $1.99 iOS, Android Emergency
iMazing Skill–based maze game where you must find your way through a challenging maze. Unlimited mazes created for you based on your skill level. Free iOS Problem Solving
Index Card Non-linear writing tool that helps capture your ideas and store notes as they come to you. Organize the flow of your thoughts by using a familiar corkboard interface and compile your work into a single document. $4.99 iPad Organization
Learning Ally Audio s downloadable DAISY formatted books. Learning Ally members can explore the library of more than 64,000 audiobooks that are designed for people with print and learning disabilities.* To use RFB&D Audio, membership is required. Membership is free for eligible people with visual impairments or dyslexia. Free* iOS, Android Reading, Vision
Lumosity Brain exercises targeting memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving. You can design your own personalized training, including “courses” with TBI- and/or PTSD-specific content. *Paid subscription available for advanced features. Free* iOS, Web Brain Training
MakeChange This app will show you the best way to count change so that you use the least number of coins. Slide and stack coins until you have the amount shown on the register display and check your answer. $1.99 iPad Life-Skills
Matrix Game Helps you develop visual perception skills such as visual discrimination. It can also help you to develop attention and concentration, spatial orientation and principles of classification and categorization. * Paid version available for advanced levels and more functionality. Free* iOS Problem Solving
n-Back n-Back is designed to improve your working memory through actively memorizing and recalling information. Free iOS Memory
Naming TherAppy Word-finding app to help people with aphasia and children with special needs practice important naming and description skills. Allows users to add their own images. $24.99 iOS Communication, Speech
Penultimate Handwriting app that helps you get the fast, tactile gratification of writing on paper, with digital power and flexibility. Take notes, keep sketches, or share your next breakthrough idea — in the office, on the go, or at home. *Advanced functionality and features are paid. Free* iPad Memory, Organization
Pictello Create visual stories and talking books. Each page in a story can contain a picture, a short video, up to ten lines of text, and a recorded sound or text-to-speech using natural sounding voices. $18.99 iOS Communication
Pic-Z Tag Nametag application that lets you identify yourself to others at a conference, business meeting, or any social gathering. $0.99 iOS Social Situations
Pocket SCAT2 This application is a shortened version of the SCAT2 test and is designed to be used in a field setting by coaches or parents to help identify possible concussions. Free iOS Concussion Screening
Proloquo2Go An alternative communication solution to help you if you have difficulty speaking. Natural sounding text-to-speech voices, high-resolution, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a vocabulary of more than 7,000 items, and advanced word prediction. $219.99 iOS Communication
Proloquo 4 Text Text”‘based communication app that gives a voice to people who cannot speak. It offers a customizable single screen layout for easy conversation, free natural-sounding voices in 15 languages, word and sentence prediction and social media. $64.99 iOS Communication
PTSD Coach Designed for veterans and service members who have, or may have, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Education about PTSD, information about care, a self-assessment for PTSD, help finding support, and tools that can help you manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD. Free iOS, Android PTSD
Quick Talk AAC This app gives a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Quick and flexible app designed to help you talk as quickly as possible. $0.99 iOS, Android Communication
SpeakWrite Recorder Voice recorder that turns your phone into a fully functional dictation system. Record, edit, and send your audio. App integrates with SpeakWrite’s 24/7 paid transcription service. Compile your dictation, upload, and within a few hours receive your transcribed document. Free Android Speech, Communication
SoundAmp Assistive app that turns the iPhone into an interactive hearing device. Using the microphone or a headset with a microphone, it amplifies nearby sound making it easier for you to hear. $4.99 iOS Hearing
Spaced Retrieval TherAppy Facilitates recalling an answer over expanding intervals of time (1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 8 minutes…) helps to cement the information in memory, even for those with impaired memory. $3.99 iOS Memory
T2 Mood Tracker Designed for service members and veterans, this app helps you self-monitor, track, and reference emotional experiences associated with common deployment-related behavioral health issues like post-traumatic stress, brain injury, depression, and anxiety. Free iOS, Android PTSD, Behavior
Tap2Talk Alternative means of communication app. Push pictures of items to have a voice speak them for you. Free Android Speech, Communication
TextTwist Word game app where you try to find the word that uses all of the letters on the screen as fast as you can. Crossword mode lets you complete a crossword puzzle using a limited number of letters. Word of the Day mode offers a daily puzzle. $0.99 iOS, Android Problem Solving
Today Screen One-stop app for quickly viewing your upcoming agenda, tasks due, and your local weather forecast. Tasks and events are intuitively highlighted based on date and time, so that what you need to look at right now stands out clearly. $2.99 iOS Reminders
Touch Calendar Touch Calendar makes viewing your calendars easy. See your whole calendar at a glance. No more flipping between different calendar views. Touch Calendar does it all from one zoomable and scrollable view. This app is especially useful for people with attention problems who do better with fewer steps. $3.95 Android Organization
Unus Tactus Developed to assist people of all ages with mild cognitive and/or motor deficits by allowing you to have an easy to use cell phone, with a simple set up. It utilizes a one–touch photo dialing system to generate phone calls using phone numbers from your existing contacts or those that you import directly. $9.99 iOS Communication
Voice4U Picture-based, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) application that helps you express your feelings, thoughts, actions, and needs. $59.99 iOS, Android Communication, Speech
Verbally Comprehensive Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app for the iPad. This app enables real conversation for those who have challenges speaking. Just tap in what you want to say and Verbally speaks for you. *Premium features available with an in-app purchase. Free* iPad Communication, Speech
Visual Schedule Planner Customizable visual schedule iPad app that is designed to give you an audio/visual representation of the events in your day. In addition, events that require more support can be linked to an activity schedule or video clip. $14.99 iPad Organization
Voice Cards Are Not Flashcards Create voice flashcards with an autoplay and shake option. Create sets of flashcards just as you would with paper flashcards, except you create a voice recording of your questions and answers in sets of Voice Cards. You can “flip” between questions and answers by swiping or shaking the phone.* Two versions, lite with limited functionality, $0.99 for full version. Free* iOS Memory
Where Am I? View and share your location, including your city, zip code, telephone area code, and approximate street address as well as the times of sunrise and sunset and GPS latitude and longitude. Free Android Location
Word Warp Game with which you can create as many words as possible from a selection of letters. If you’re stuck, just press the “warp” button and it will help you out. Free iOS Brain Training

Pricing, availability, and features accurate as of the last update January 16th, 2014.

Share with us

Technology is always changing. New iterations of mobile devices and apps are constantly being released. Please share with us what apps have and haven’t worked for you in the comment section below.

Posted on BrainLine December 16, 2013

Source: Life-Changing Mobile Apps for People with Brain Injury | BrainLine

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