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Being A Caregiver

Brain injury not only affects the individual, but also his or her family. It transforms the lives of everyone involved. Often family members have to make considerable changes in the way they live in order to take care of their loved one. After a brain injury, many families experience the shifting of responsibilities. These can be temporary or life-long.

Ten Emotional Survival Skills for Caregivers

  1. Take care of yourself — Make this a priority from the beginning. Even small ways of nurturing and protecting yourself count.
  2. Let others help you and your family — No one can do this alone.
  3. Practice relaxed breathing several times a day for ten minutes — Calming your body a bit can help calm your mind.
  4. Hold on to hope — Brain injury recovery is a roller coaster ride. Hope can be the red car with a wide safety belt that holds you in place as you zoom up and down the hills.
  5. Share your feelings — Talk to a friend or staff member. Ask questions. Write in a journal. Join an online community to talk with other caregivers.
  6. Allow distractions —Watch a funny TV show, read a magazine, or play a video game. Distraction lets your mind relax and recharge.
  7. Seek a quiet spot — The noise and commotion of the ICU double your stress. The chapel is welcoming, even if you’re not religious. Sit quietly. Take deep breaths. Close your eyes.
  8. Think in ways that support clarity and calm — Focus on this moment, this day. Try to keep your expectations and “What if…” thoughts in line. Try to take in what the staff is telling you. Recovery can’t be rushed. Every little step counts.
  9. Sleep whenever you can — Rest is extremely important.
  10. Tend to your body — Eat nourishing food. Stand up and stretch. Take a walk.