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Living with traumatic brain injury - the victim and the caregiver

Traumatic brain injury is intimidating. That it involves a wide range of severity only increases the fear that goes along with it. Even mild concussions from a seemingly innocent bump on the head carry the TBI label, and Rhode Islanders suffering with symptoms should take them seriously. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of a brain injury can include - among others - headaches, nausea and vomiting or disruptions in sleep, balance and concentration. More severe cases also may involve "profound confusion" and "disorders of consciousness," including the victim falling into a coma. 

Long-term effects of severe traumatic brain injury

The most severe cases, the Mayo Clinic explains, can impact sufferers in almost every aspect of function: physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional. Those who sustain this level of brain injury will likely need the assistance of a caregiver for the remainder of their lives. 

What a transition for those who have always taken care of themselves. Needing to seek help from a family member or hired caregiver can be a humbling and difficult task. 

Tips for caregivers of TBI victims

The change is also monumental for the ones giving care, especially if they are family members who have experienced life alongside an independent husband or wife, son or daughter, brother or sister. Now, their lives revolve around taking care of someone who is somewhat - if not totally - dependent on them. 

The Family Caregiver Alliance has some tips for those who have become caregivers. The FCA encourages them not to forego their own care because everyone suffers when the caregiver burns out. Suggestions include not being afraid to ask for help, maintaining good physical fitness with exercise and managing emotions well. 


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