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After a Brain Injury

Changes after a brain injury

A brain injury affects every part your life, including relationships with family, friends, and others. You may deal with long-term changes that affect thinking, thoughts and feelings. It can take many months for the brain to recover, so it’s hard to know if you’ll have changes or problems or what they’ll be. No one knows what the final outcome will be. And no 2 people are affected the same way by a brain injury.

Take small steps

When you need to make changes to your life, take small steps and one step at a time. It takes time for the brain to heal. When you have questions or concerns, talk with a member of the healthcare team.

Information for family and friends

When someone has a brain injury, life changes. They may no longer be able to do things for themselves. And they may miss the active and busy lives they had before the brain injury.

They may have trouble doing daily tasks, working, playing sports, doing the same hobbies, or having an active social life. It can be hard for family, friends and the survivor to accept these changes. Family and friends become the greatest source of support while they’re also coping with the changes.

If you’re a caregiver, family, or friend, talk to a healthcare provider about programs to help you cope.

Changes to your loved one

Even though someone with a brain injury looks fine, they may be dealing with new challenges that others don’t notice right away.

After a brain injury, your loved one may:

  • have trouble thinking and problem solving
  • feel depressed, not know what to do with their lives, or have other thoughts and feelings
  • act (behave) differently
  • look different
  • not be able to go back to the job they had before their injury

A brain injury affects everyone differently. Along with the support of family and friends, your loved one may need other types of support. This can include:

  • resources in the community
  • rehabilitation
  • support for getting disability services
  • financial support
  • spiritual support through a place of worship

Changes within the family

Many people with a brain injury can go home after they have rehabilitation. When they get home, you may find that you have to do many things that they used to do.

It can be hard to cope with the changes in behaviour (how someone acts) that a brain injury may cause. This can make you feel shocked, numb, guilty, afraid, angry, anxious, or depressed.

Roles and responsibilities may change within the family. You may find that you need to make changes to your own activities, responsibilities, schedules, and how you spend your free time as you adjust to your loved one’s brain injury. This can lead to feeling stressed, burdened (that you have too much to do for someone else and less time for yourself), and even depressed.

You may also need support while you learn how to cope with the changes to your life.​

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