As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, many individuals with brain injuries have unfortunately been required to put their clinic therapy visits on hold. Many family members and caregivers have increased their role in continuing rehabilitation at home during this time.
Here are some tips for caregivers who are currently caring for those with moderate-severe brain injuries during this trying time. Remember, each brain injury is different and it is important to adjust these recommendations to suit each individual.
- Establish a daily structure for consistent times for activities. Have the daily routine posted in a centralized location for easy access. Review it often and use it to re-cap the day. Ask reorienting questions throughout the day. It is important that all family member and/or caregivers understand and reinforce the plan.
- For example, asking “what are we doing after lunch?”, “what did we do before our walk?”
- Allow the person with a brain injury some choices and control
- For example, asking “would you like apple or banana with breakfast?” or “Would you like to help fold laundry or empty the dishwasher?”
- Develop strategies to compensate for deficits
- For example, timers, post-it note reminders of routines and checklists, calendars, large-button preprogrammed telephones, and medication dispensers.
- Rehearse or role-playing to develop appropriate social skills
- For example: calling friends and/or family, practice providing demographic information such as name, address, phone number, and date of birth
- Incorporate language and problem solving into daily routine.
- For example, while getting dress for the day ask “What are all the clothing items we need to gather to get dressed?”, While meal planning “What are all the items we need to make tacos?”, While filling pill case ask “What would you do if this medication is running low?”
- Practice reading. Make sure you tailor the level of the task to fit the individual.
- For example, circling indicated letters on a newspaper or magazine, site words, recipes, comprehension of articles or stories.
- Practice writing. Make sure you tailor the level of the task to fit the individual.
- For example, copying shapes, numbers or letters, demographic information (name, address, phone number, date of birth), writing out items that fit a certain category (colors, animals, foods), journaling, writing letters to family or friends.
- There are several online resources and apps for keeping cognitively active.
- For example, word games, math, brain apps, crosswords, matching, comprehension.
- Always praise good performance to enhance self-esteem, which is usually diminished with brain injury
- Schedule some time free time for yourself!