Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

Tips to Best Help a Person Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Help those recovering from a traumatic brain injury with these tips

Providing care for someone who’s struggling with the effects of a traumatic brain injury can be more manageable with compassion combined with education. The following tips can help reduce stress and frustration for both the person for whom you’re providing care, as well as for yourself as a caregiver.

  • Allow Plenty of Time for Recovery: Recovery for someone with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) very often can take years. Although the person may seem to be recovered on the outside, there will naturally be some days that are better than others, and pushing the person too hard can lead to setbacks. Remain patient and refrain from negativity.
  • View Things Differently: Try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the person with the TBI, and view the situation through his or her eyes and abilities.
  • Focus on Structure: A structured day is often crucial to the person’s recovery. It can help the individual retrain his or her brain and know better what to expect during the course of the day.
  • Patience Is Key: Allowing the person to manage tasks at his or her own pace will help the individual regain independence. Offer plenty of patience in listening, enabling the person to finish what he or she wants to say without interruption, even if it takes some time to find the correct words. This will help him or her to relearn important language skills.
  • Help, But Don’t Do Everything: If the person appears to be “stuck” in a task or is repeating actions, he or she could just require a little assistance with processing information. Refrain from taking over the task, and instead offer simple suggestions. Often, people with brain injuries will find that they need to finish a task in a very set order as the brain is being retrained.
  • Rest Is Best: A person with a TBI requires more rest than usual, and this is not a condition of laziness. It causes fatigue for the person to process and organize thoughts, particularly if already tired.
  • Remain Alert in Social Settings: Parties and crowds can be particularly challenging, with various conversations and loud noises occurring all at once. Be mindful that it may be too much for the person to process and a break can be beneficial.
  • Never Treat the Individual like a Child: Be sure you never talk down to the TBI survivor. Although you may be trying to help, it can appear to be belittling.
  • Behavior Management: It’s vital to figure out what triggered a challenging behavior. Was the person tired? Was there too much noise or chaos that resulted in anxiety? Was a particular routine broken? If at all possible, avoid those triggers to help prevent the problematic behaviors.
  • Be Prepared for Strong Emotions: Understand that the person may become more irritated or frustrated, or could be more sensitive than before the TBI. Keep in mind that many things which could formerly be done without a second thought now require a great deal of effort to accomplish.
  • Provide Hope and Encouragement: Celebrate each accomplishment with the individual. Each moment of progress, regardless of how small, is a victory. New discoveries and stories of healing are happening each and every day. No one individual’s recovery is exactly like another.

Be sure to note any changes in condition in someone with a traumatic brain injury so they can be relayed to the person’s doctor immediately.

If you’d like to learn more about joining the Hillendale team as a CNA, contact our CNA and HHA School by completing this simple form!

Alzheimer’s Caregivers: Appropriate Responses to Inappropriate Behavior

Alzheimer's CaregiverAlzheimer’s is a complex disease that often presents complex issues for Alzheimer’s caregivers. As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s increasingly tend to communicate through behavior instead of speech, and oftentimes these behaviors can be of an inappropriate nature. For example, people with more advanced Alzheimer’s disease may exhibit the following:

  • Aggression and agitation
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior such as:
    • Undressing or touching themselves in public
    • Using vulgar or obscene language
    • Jealous accusations that a spouse is having an affair
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression

These behaviors can be embarrassing or troubling for Alzheimer’s caregivers, but they can also be very confusing and frustrating for the person with Alzheimer’s, as he or she most likely doesn’t understand why the behavior is considered inappropriate or why it is upsetting to others.

As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, it’s important to remember that any troubling behaviors the senior shows are the result of the disease — or possibly other health issues or medications — not a reflection of the person’s character. Also, often what seems like sexually inappropriate behavior is really an expression of a non-sexual need, such as a need to use the restroom or a need for closeness.

If you cannot figure out a reason for the senior’s behavior, try these responses:

  • Redirect the person to a favorite hobby or activity such as listening to music or looking through a family photo album.
  • Calmly, but promptly, find a private area like a restroom or changing area if the senior feels the need to undress in public.
  • Respond to feelings of loneliness or a need for closeness with a caring pat or a hug and soothing conversation.
  • Try increasing the amount of exercise or activity the person gets.
  • Consider practical solutions; for inappropriate disrobing, buy special clothes designed with fasteners in the back for this specific reason, or try putting trousers or dresses on backwards.

When responding to challenging behavior:

  • Respond calmly and matter-of-factly. Arguing with or embarrassing the person can exacerbate the situation; try to be gentle and patient.
  • Don’t overreact in either direction. Providing too much affection may encourage unwanted sexual behavior, while yelling or shaming may frighten or confuse the person further.
  • Find a solution, whether it is a new setting that does not allow for the behavior to be a cause of concern, or a new activity that distracts from the behavior altogether.

Becoming an Alzheimer’s caregiver is a challenging, yet extremely rewarding career. If you are interested in helping seniors with Alzheimer’s disease live their best lives at home, contact Hillendale Home Care of Walnut Creek, California. We fully support our caregiving team through ongoing training and CEU offerings to help you keep your CNA or HHA license current. Contact us any time to learn more by calling 925-933-8181.