Simple tips to taking back control and saving relationships after injury Part 2 of 2

28 Dec

It’s never too late to change.  If you have a new or old injury make sure you are doing what you can for yourself.  You need to focus on the things you can do.  Evaluate the things you might be able to do, and try to do these things.  Repetition brings success.  Even if you can’t obtain precisely every goal, you may be able to find bits and pieces that move you in the right direction! Personal independence and freedom are paramount to self-esteem, self-respect, and a sense of self well-being!

  • New injury?
  • Old injury?
  • Change is possible!

With severe traumatic brain injury one begins by depending on others to teach them the basic functioning such as:  toilet, brushing teeth, brushing hair, dressing, and  washing up.  As these tasks are achieved you become Independent with these tasks.  While these tasks are accomplished, one may need Assistance with other tasks.  Try to move all tasks that you believe you need assistance  eventually becoming Independent.  Self-care is always a priority.


Hygiene (Photo credit: Merlin1487)

Nearly everyone is capable of self care tasks after a while, except those comatose or living in nursing facilities.  Some families do care for loved ones in their homes with round-the-clock care. Even those families encourage their loved ones to do something.  Sometimes it’s as simple as holding a tooth brush, holding a wash rag, or holding a hair brush.  They may never be able to brush their teeth or hair, but the motion of holding an item is a huge accomplishment!

If you are able to be alone, you are most likely capable of performing all your activities of daily living most of the time… self care!

Make it clear that there is a difference between what you perceive as needing assistance, and those things you are dependent on others.  Study the list of Assistance and Dependence.  Ask those you use to Assist or Depend upon to help you accomplish your optimal level of functioning. Ask them what they think.  Expect them to be honest, and don’t take it personally.  You will be asking for help.  You may not like what you hear, but the outcome will help you achieve significant goals to independence.  Keep in mind, they will be answering your questions and helping you become the person you need to become!

These are questions you should ask others:

  • Is there anything you think I can do on my own?
  • What are the things you think I should be able to do on my own?
  • How do you think I could accomplish these things?
  • What are the things that bother you the most?
  • Will you help encourage me when I’m at my weakest?
  • Will you help remind me of my progress?
  • Plan on a special occasion, special event, activity when one achieves the goal.
  • Help one make the next step and keep progressing.

Take these responses and think about what that person is telling you.  Write their perceptions down and ponder these ideas later during a quiet time.  Don’t become argumentative.  You need to get honest answers to improve. You just asked for their input.  Take the criticism constructively and improve yourself. Take your own personal inventory and see if these things are something you can help out and limit the burden on your caregivers.

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation helps promote optimal level of functioning but these services are limited.  Hence, you need to learn from others within your environment.

Don’t depend upon others, when you can … safely do it yourself. Please don’t waste another’s energy and their resources.  Dependency should only apply to the things you absolutely CANNOT do!  Dependency puts a significant strain upon relationships.  Keep dependency to a minimum … only when you NEED not because you want!

Contact your physicians office and ask for an occupational therapist or physical therapist referral.  They will help you reach your highest level of functioning.  It may have been some time since you’ve had outpatient rehabilitation and you can learn from further physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Did your doctor tell you it is okay to bathe or wash your hair on your own?  Are you draining your spouse, significant other, friend or loved one of their resources and energy because you haven’t taken the initiative to take care of yourself?  Please take care of yourself…it is your job!  These are basic levels of functioning, that nearly everyone can achieve.

SAFETY FIRST! Then self-care should always be a priority in ones daily life. At times you will need to take risks, and move out of your comfort zone.  If the risk jeopardizes safety of yourself or others, DO NOT take that risk!  SAFETY FIRST!  

Rest assured, relationships are strained when one is dependent on others.  Those that depend on others for many things, need to evaluate all the things they want to accomplish. Reassess your life, whether this is a new injury or chronic condition.  If you are uncertain what you can do, a referral may help you.

You will need an evaluation from an occupational therapist and physical therapist.  They can help you safety accomplish all the personal tasks you would like to achieve, and then some!  The inconvenience of these therapies are well worth the time and effort.

You need to do everything possible to help yourself.  You will want to talk with the people helping you out and let them know your plans to take care of yourself.  Start with the basic things in life.  If you are able to take care of your personal hygiene do so!  Do not depend on other people when it is something you are capable of doing.

What have you changed recently or plan to change to make your level of functioning better?

The simple things in life make a tremendous difference in everyone’s life. Start by discussing your plans and facing your fears.  Make your plans to include safety.  Keep yourself safe.  There is NO guarantee that falls won’t happen, but in reality falls happen to everyone.  Don’t let these fears hold you back!  Take small steps to make big changes.

When you get up in the morning brush your teeth and wash your face at the very least.  Shower or bathe, and put clean clothing on.  Dress up, (blue jeans & shirt, sweater) even if it’s for a couple hours when your loved one arrives home from work. Make the effort to look good!  Like … who you see in the mirror.

LANDSTUHL, Germany (Oct. 16, 2008) Physical th...

LANDSTUHL, Germany (Oct. 16, 2008) Physical therapist Lt. Cmdr. Mitchel Ideue, Officer in Charge of Inpatient Services at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Landstuhl, Germany, gives Army Sgt. Charlie McCall a physical therapy treatment. (U.S. Army photo by Michelle Barrera) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make a schedule best time and day you will wash your hair and take a shower or bathe.  Personal hygiene is basis for self-care.  The majority of people are capable of doing this basic level of functioning task.

  • Make a schedule for personal hygiene
  • Follow schedule till it becomes habit
  • Success

If you haven’t made yourself a schedule plan on doing this.  If you need help making a schedule and keeping it ask the person you depend upon to help you achieve your new goals.  They will help you set a schedule that sets you up for success.  Everyone wants to succeed.

What did you work on for a long time, but finally achieved your goal at being independent?  How did you feel when you were able to do these things on your own?  Do you have a special story or a certain way you achieved your goal that might help others?

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