Simple tips on decision making when life is so indecisive after brain injury

09 Nov

If you are over 18 there are no safeguards to help with your decision making.  If you make the wrong decision you are held responsible.  It doesn’t matter that your clarity of thought is disrupted, because who can tell if it’s what you want to do or it’s another decision you make carelessly?  It may be that you are easily persuaded to make decisions based on what another is telling you.

Help prevent problems with decision-making  

  • Ask more than one person for their opinions
  • Research the matter on the Internet
  • Use all available resources for decision making
  • Do you clearly understand ideas, concepts, and contracts
  • Do you understand completely
  • Reiterate your understanding for clarity
  • Don’t let anyone stop you from thinking the way you feel
  • You need to change your own thought processes and support your ideas with facts
  • Don’t jump into making decisions without fully understanding and investigating.  Think things through slowly.  Ponder the ideas, look at them several ways.  Gather all your facts.  Don’t sign anything unless you are 100% sure it’s right for you.

Slower is better

  • Take time, don’t make spontaneously decisions
  • Time helps with thoughts
  • Leave if pressure to sign-on-the-line is an issue
  • Anything worth signing will still be there another day
  • You have 3 days, unless specified otherwise to cancel contracts you have signed

Large financial decisions

  • No one is looking out for you, our society is based on numbers
  • Don’t loan money unless a trustworthy person helps make things clear
  • Any personal loans you give to another may not be reimbursed & you may not remember who you loaned it to
  • Any personal loans you and a significant other agree upon, need to have a repayment contract
  • Ask a banker, financial consultant, or obtain legal-aid or free advice
  • Remember if someone else gets paid, ask yourself “how they benefit from helping you”
  • It still comes down to money, it’s all about the numbers
  • Research, research, research!

Health decisions

  • When you know you are right, don’t let your healthcare professionals dismiss your problem
  • Find a real expert who will listen, refer, and treat:  You ARE IMPORTANT & YOU DESERVE TREATMENT
  • Always get a second-opinion
  • Always have a healthcare advocate

Signing contracts

  • What is it you are signing?
  • Are you agreeing to the terms of the contract?
  • Have you worked through the numbers to confirm the financial aspect affordable?
  • If you have no resources at home
  • Know what services your community offers
  • Does your community offer transportation services
  • Schedule services ahead of time
  • Have someone take you to the library
  • Ask a librarian for help in researching
  • Print off articles
  • Highlight important facts
  • Read and reread the subject
  • Ask yourself: Does this answer my questions?
  • This is a short summary of the basic ideas in decision-making process.
English: Flowchart of Rational Planning and De...

English: Flowchart of Rational Planning and Decision Making Process (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The early years following injury may be difficult to make simple daily decisions.  Simple decisions are hard to make especially if you are given a number of choices. You may notice that many people with brain injuries cannot look at a menu in a restaurant.  They are overwhelmed with all the choices.

It’s easier to always offer only two choices such as: What day do you want to grocery shop…Thursday or Friday?  Given too many choices makes decision-making much more difficult.  Goal is to keep the person independent and in control. Keep everything simple.  Do not ask “Yes” or “No” questions when it is something that needs to be done.  Offer only two choices.

Simple decisions

  • Offer only two choices
  • Keep everything simple
  • Don’t ask “Yes” or “No” questions if it needs to be done

For example: What time do you want to shower 8:00 am or 2:00 pm. There is NO opportunity to argue that they will NOT bathe or shower.  It’s a matter of what time they choose to do it. Given choices leave the injured with a feeling of self-control.  They need this control.

Sample questions:

  • What day should you go to the library?  Monday or Wednesday
  • What time should one do the laundry?  1:00 pm or 6:00 pm
  • What time should one wake up?  5:00 am or 8:00 am
  • What time should one call you?  10:00 am or 2:00 pm
  • What time do you want to go to the bank?  9:00 am or 10:00 am

Keep choices within the timeframe you are willing to help.  Make the numbers work for you and the choices limited to your timeframe. These simple tips will help survivors with daily living and problem solving abilities.  Over time they will make better choices and learn how to handle business matters and decisions.   There is no set date that these techniques can be applied.  Every injury and recovery process is different.  What works for one may not work for another.

What technique do you use that you find most helpful to you?


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10 responses to “Simple tips on decision making when life is so indecisive after brain injury

  1. philippinewanderer

    November 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm


    I closed my other Facebook account because after I clicked, “Like,” the like wound up on my timeline in four large displays. I was not able to delete them so I had to cancel my account. I would like to invite you to this new Facebook account. Philippinewanderer is my ID. If you have any difficulty, please e-mail me and let me know. I am attempting to reassert the things I had on my other account, but I don’t know if I will be ablewish me luck.

    Respectfully .


    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      November 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

      At some point I might be able to do Facebook. Right now, I am still having difficulty learning WordPress. It’s all a learning process. Good luck with redoing your site. I don’t know much about this, but I’m willing to learn. One step at a time! Edie

  2. dwlloyd8102012

    November 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I’m impressed with your thoughtful blog post. I especially liked that you ended with a thought-provoking question. I also liked the decision chart you included. I had been considering a post on my own blog, and if I make that post, your chart summarizes my thoughts.

    Over a year after a brain injury, I struggle with decision-making in a way that would not have made sense to me prior to the accident. I get caught in short-term memory “loops.” I do fine as long as I can let ideas “flow” as they come, but the moment I decide I should cite a reference or re-think a foregone conclusion, I begin feeling confused, which leads to completely forgetting what I’m doing, and often continuing on another project altogether. Worse, if I’m working from a checklist, I will think I completed the last item because I’m now onto something else…

    My life is filled with “surprises” about thinks I KNOW I completed that were not completed, and things I KNOW I have not done that are already finished with plenty of evidence to prove I did the work. Life after TBI can be frustrating.

    See my blog:

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      November 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

      You have summarized how difficult daily tasks are following brain injuries. I understand this doesn’t happen to everyone with TBI, and they are fortunate. We compensate in such a way that in other areas one becomes an expert in dealing with daily issues that don’t occur in individuals without brain injuries.

      Sad fact, because there is a history of brain injury individuals are easily dismissed and others are considered as factual even though they may not be. How do we get beyond this and prove we have legitimate concerns and others may be emphasizing the negatives and not focusing on positives?

  3. dwlloyd8102012

    November 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    After my injury, I went through a dark period of about three months when nothing got done at all. Suddenly, after my doctors’ third attempt to bring relief with stimulants, I suddenly began recognizing I was out of control, and on the edge of paying big penalties for my inaction. My first eye-opener was was a court hearing in which I had to explain I had not met my responsibilities because I lacked the ability, but to make that confession, I needed a plan to prevent severe consequences. My plan was a friend who promised to hold me accountable, and a daughter who agreed to take on power of attorney. We negotiated with a judge, kept our promises, and now I survive day-to-day with a little help from my friends and family, and a LOT of humility and thankfulness.

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      November 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Others don’t realize how one is still held accountable for things that are not under voluntary control. It takes time to regain financial control, if at all! You have pointed out how serious the financial aspect of daily living is affected following TBI. It’s also complicated by indecisiveness! I’m happy that others had stepped in to help. A little help goes a long way. Power of attorney is a good idea, sometimes temporary and sometimes permanently.

      When others expect one to continue along the financial path they were doing prior to injury it could spell out financial disaster. That is denial to understand brain injury or lack of education from those who should help. Let’s promote more education to prevent these disasters from occurring.

  4. Three Well Beings

    November 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    You have such wonderful resources to share, I think that one day you may be able to collate the best of your posts and publish a book. It seems to me that you have collected information that no one else offers as precisely, or with as much personal knowledge to back up the functionality of the key ideas! 🙂

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      November 14, 2012 at 8:27 am

      I’m humbled by your comments. I haven’t thought about the book, but if it’s something that will help others it could be a long term goal. I don’t know the process at all, and it’s difficult just working on Word Press but I know I could do it! Thank you for finding this site helpful.

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      February 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      You are offering an excellent service to help others understand brain injury. Thank you so much and I hope others will stop by and learn from your years of experience. I’ve also added you to my blogroll. Take care and stay safe, Edie


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