A TBI is defined as damage to the brain resulting from external mechanical force, such as rapid acceleration or deceleration, impact or blast waves. It can occur from a stroke, a car accident, or from a blow to the head, says CEO/ Founder of Alliance Services for TBI, John Paul.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), a brain injury can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone – a brain injury does not discriminate. In fact, 1.7 million Americans sustain a brain injury each year.
“Those that survive from TBI go through a series of challenges that include going to the hospital, rehabilitation, and nursing care centers. This journey is often filled with difficulties and setbacks that not only effect the individual, but those closest to them including family, friends and employers,” Paul says.
When we go through an experience such as a traumatic brain injury moving forward can be a challenge. TBI survivors need tools and strategies to help them move forward.
Check out these four (4) ways TBI survivors move forward with confidence:
1. Choosing the TBI Medicaid Waiver Program or a similar program
2. Planning the day
3. Keeping a journal
4. Joining a TBI survivors support group
Moving forward from TBI requires a program that can help meet the individual’s specific needs and goals.The TBI Medicaid Waiver Program is a program designed specifically for TBI survivors and the services are tailored to meet the TBI survivor’s specific needs and goals. The program provides a wide array of services, including Service Coordination, Independent Living Skills Training, Community Integration Counseling, transportation and Environmental Modifications Services to help TBI survivors maintain their community living and to avoid nursing home placement. TBI survivors have the right to choose where they want to live either in their own home or in the nursing home,” Paul says. “Those that choose to live at home choose the TBI Medicaid Waiver Program,” he says. (For more information including a program description, criteria, how to enroll and the services available. )
Sherley Benjamin, MSW, an Independent Living Skills Training Program Supervisor for Alliance Services for TBI a TBI Medicaid Waiver Program provider, agrees. “Your To-do List does not need to be elaborate. You can start out with a simple blank piece of paper. Write the date at the top and list the things you want to do for the day. For instance, eat breakfast, take medications, shave, get a haircut, eat lunch, go to the gym, eat ice cream, and cook dinner,” she says.
Planning the day is like riding a bicycle. When you first start you will need assistance. The assistance in planning the day comes in the way of reminders. For instance, you can write a little note to yourself to remind you to plan the day. You might plan the day on Monday, but forget to do it on Tuesday. Do not worry! Just start and plan the day on Wednesday and so on. Planning the day by writing a To-do List needs to become a habit. It needs to be something that you do every day. It will take time, but soon you will be able to plan your day like a pro,” Benjamin says.
Keeping a journal is a critical step and fulfills a valuable role in the recovery process. Part of moving forward from TBI is getting to know about the person you have become. For that reason, Paul is a strong believer that writing down your thoughts and activities in a notebook acts like a mirror that helps you to see yourself. “It will help you to know where you’ve been and where you need to go,” he says. Each journal entry will help you to see something about yourself that you may have forgotten had you not written it down. The entries will give insight into what has worked for you and what has not. It will help you to know what you can do for yourself, what others have done for you and what you need to learn how to do,” he says
Joining a TBI support group will empower TBI survivors and ensure them that they are not alone. Support groups are a place where you will meet other people that are moving forward despite the challenges. You will find people who truly understand your issues. You will learn through the experiences of other survivors and find the answers to problems you may be having. You will learn strategies, resources and tools that have been tested and that work.
TBI support groups are not limited only to sitting around in a circle talking about problems. Some groups meet by census, travel, and do activities together. Others set goals and work towards achieving them together. If you need assistance to finding a TBI support group near you contact 866-917-7837 ext. 799 ■