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Being a caregiver for a spouse, parent, child, or sibling with a brain injury can be a long journey with many rewards, stresses and conflicts. While so much care and attention focuses on the person who has been injured, the needs and feelings of caregivers are often overlooked or ignored. These blog articles focus on understanding the dynamics of caregivers, the challenges faced by caregivers over time, and strategies to support and inform caregivers.

Heartfelt Support for Family Caregivers by Barbara Stahura, CJF

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Family caregivers face multiple emotional and physical demands. This article shares the experiences of two families who faced these challenges from the TBI suffered by their veteran spouse. Hearts of Valor is one organization providing support for family caregivers dealing with the effects of TBI and PTSD in wounded veterans.

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Take the Danger Out of TBI Caregiver Anger by Janet Cromer

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The anger of the TBI caregiver is too often ignored by family, friends and even professionals. While clinicians focus on helping the person with a brain injury whose ability to control anger has been affected, who helps the TBI caregiver whose anger is often not even acknowledged. Janet Cromer explores why it is important to recognize that this anger is real and gives strategies for TBI caregivers to manage that anger. By recognizing what trigger TBI caregiver anger, she helps caregivers respond with positive strategies.

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Five Foundation Skills for the Resilient Caregiver by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

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Caregiving for a family member who has a brain injury – whether it be a spouse, sibling, parent, or child – is stressful. Whether you are a new caregiver or an experienced caregiver, these five foundations skills can improve your health and resilience. Janet Cromer explains how to use self-compassion to care for yourself, how to counterbalance your stress response, and how to live mindfully. She explores the importance of connections with others for support and outlets to express your creativity. By using these skills, caregivers are better equipped to deal with the uncertainty and loss of control that is so often inherent in caregiving.

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Preventing and Healing Compassion Fatigue by Janet M. Cromer, RN, LMHC, CCFE

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Compassion fatigue is a form of complete exhaustion that results from the prolonged stress of caring for a very sick or traumatized person. Compassion fatigue depletes our physical, emotional, and spiritual reserves, so interventions must replenish those dimensions. It even interferes with how the body and mind function. Living with this extreme stress is dangerous because it can contribute to medical illness, mood disturbances, behavior changes, and substance abuse. Compassion fatigue builds up slowly as the stress response stays in overdrive for weeks, or even months.

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Brain Injury and Grief: Fact or Fiction? by Janelle Breese Biagioni

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The grief that follows a brain injury often perplexes relatives, friends, and coworkers. After all, if the person survived the brain injury, shouldn’t the reaction be joy, relief and gratitude? Janelle Breese Biagioni explores the meaning of grief and loss after TBI and why mourning is so important for emotional healing.

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Mapping New Directions in Caregiving by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

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Janet Cromer has professional and personal experience as a caregiver. Having survived caring for her husband after his anoxic brain injury, she uses her expertise to help families recognize and manage the stresses and rewards of caregiving, especially when faced with the cognitive, social and behavioral changes that so often accompany a traumatic or acquired brain injury.

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The Grip of Anniversaries

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As I write this, the calendar says July 5, 2013, but my mind is pulled back to July 5, 1998. That’s because my husband Alan suffered the massive heart attack and cardiac arrest that led to his severe anoxic brain injury fifteen years ago today. Today my mind goes back to Alan’s sudden cardiac arrest on an airplane in Chicago, the hour of resuscitation, the life and death decisions, and the month we spent in an ICU before Alan was stable enough to board an air ambulance home to Boston and months of rehabilitation.

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Janet Cromer Interviewed on Brain Injury Radio

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This week I had the pleasure of being a guest of Kim Justus, host of the Recovery Now show, on Brain Injury Radio. Kim is a brain injury survivor and very knowledgeable about the issues affecting survivors, family members, and professionals. We talked about my experiences as a spousal caregiver for my husband Alan and my book Professor Cromer Learns to Read: A Couple’s New Life after Brain Injury.

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Practical Caregiving Tips To Advocate For Your Hospitalized Brain Injury Patient – Part 3

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This article is part three of a three part series that will help you step into an advocacy role for your brain injury patient, feel more confident about your role as a caregiver, and communicate effectively with medical professionals. These tips and actions are practical and provide real life advice to help you navigate through the countless tests, doctors, nurses, therapists, medicines and other medical professionals and new terminology. Moving forward, accept that you have a steep learning curve and apply yourself persistently.

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Three Fun Journaling Techniques to Open Your Heart after Brain Injury

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If you have a brain injury or are a family caregiver, you know that your life encompasses much more than caregiving and TBI. It’s important to make your life as well-rounded as you can. If you journal (and I hope you do!), you know that inspiration for your writing can come from anywhere. You’re much more than a caregiver for a person with a brain injury or TBI.. But when you need a jumpstart, you can try these three methods for fun and enlightening writing sessions. They will spark creativity, open up your heart, and provide a look into your life. You’ll need to do a little prep work, which can also be fun, but then you’ll be set for many journaling sessions, alone or in a group.

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