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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.

Advocate For Your Traumatic Brain Injury Hospitalized Patient

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A Traumactic Brain Injury patient is rarely able to advocate for themselves and it’s important that family and friends know how to help properly. If your family member is to be in the hospital or rehab due to a brain injury for a lengthy stay there are some things that you can do to make the time less difficult. These tips are simple and non-intrusive. Also, when you have multiple family caregivers it’s essential to record the conversations of the medical professionals so that you know of any changes to medications, additional tests that were given and keep up to date on changes in the patient’s behavior. Tracking and sharing that information is the purpose of The Caregiver’s Journal.

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Journal Writing: A Window into Life by Janelle Breese Biagioni

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It seems to be our nature to see the accomplishments of others; however, we often overlook our own. We either fear what we have done is not enough or we don’t see how all the little things we did actually contributed to a bigger accomplishment.

Journal writing is a great way to record short, simple notes so that from time to time you can read and reflect on your journey. Often, it’s surprising to see how far you have come.

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Journal after Brain Injury – Tips and topics for journaling

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Whether you’re living with your own brain injury or are a family caregiver, you can benefit from writing your thoughts and feelings for just a few minutes a couple of times a week. It helps to have some good techniques available both to help you start a writing session and to broaden your journaling practice to make it more satisfying and productive. Some of these techniques are the Unsent Letter, Perspectives, Captured Moment, and Dialogue.

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Five Seasonal Gifts of Time for Brain Injury Caregivers

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Brain injury caregivers can feel the pressure of “not enough time” even more during the holiday season. Even if your family doesn’t follow a religious or secular tradition, the frenetic energy of others can be unpleasant. Janet Cromer suggests five ways for caregivers to give yourself a special gift of time this year in a brain injury blog.

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November is National Family Caregivers Month

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Studies have also shown that caregivers are at higher risk of depression and chronic illness. Wouldn’t it make sense to add the question “Are you a family caregiver?” to medical intake forms? That would alert the healthcare professional to ask about stressors, supports, respite arrangements, and medical screenings.

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Unexpected Lessons from the Classroom

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Every year when I flip the calendar page to September, an urge to go back to school overtakes me. Crisp notebooks and twelve-packs of pens call to me from the shelves of Staples. I’m proud of being a lifelong learner, as so many of us are now. In addition to going back to college a few times, I’ve loved taking adult education classes in my community since 1970!

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Passion is Necessary to Make a Difference!

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During an interview of Phil Mickelson the well know golfer today on TV, he indicated he was involved in training teachers in math and science. He went on to say that training teachers is where you can make a difference. Most elementary teachers are not even certified to teach in these areas and lack the knowledge and passion to teach other than following the textbook. Therefore, most lack the love and enthusiasm for the subject. He emphasized “passion” while instructing. A person attains passion through an in depth understanding of the area he/she is attempting to involve the other person.

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I Felt a Cleaving in My Mind

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The worst experience in my personal health, one that has been ongoing is living with migraine. I had encephalitis 20 years ago, and it left me with symptoms of stroke, that took about a year to heal. But the migraines continue.

However, brain injury and the loss of those very precious memories and thoughts, one after the other, is hard. I find myself saying to Bill, “Don’t you remember, we talked about this last night?” Then I remind myself not to use that phrase because he cannot remember. His memory for many things has and continues to improve over the years. But I think the sadness of working so hard, and not seeing the results he is working toward is very difficult for him and others living with brain injury.

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Self-Compassion for Caregivers — Try a Little Tenderness

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If you are a family caregiver for a person who has a brain injury this scene might look familiar. You are sitting in the physical therapy waiting room and can’t help sneaking glances at that couple across the room. The young husband, Sam, sits slumped in his wheelchair, speaks slowly with garbled phrases and jabs at his communication board to convey that he needs a drink of water. His shaved head is crossed with heavy sutures, and his left arm hangs limply. His wife, Sally, bends forward patiently, offering him words, her forehead furrowed with the effort to understand him and make him comfortable. Their three year old son entertains himself by tossing magazines in the air as he sings.

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Secondary Traumatic Stress – An Assault on Caregivers of Persons with Brain Injury

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Family members who are also caregivers for a parent, spouse, child or sibling with a brain injury or PTSD can have a secondary traumatic stress response, also known as compassion fatigue. Secondary traumatic stress can occur when a responsible and caring person is exposed to the sights, sounds, smells, or stories from the injured person and feels responsible for diminishing that person’s suffering. Secondary traumatic stress occurs in degrees of severity along a continuum from a brief acute response to a longer-lasting, more serious disorder. It can directly affect the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual well being and health of caregivers.

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