5 Tips for Communicating with Someone who has a Traumatic Brain Injury

Do you have a loved one suffering from a traumatic brain injury? It can be hard to adjust and know what to say. You want to help but you don’t want to offend your loved one. So what should you do? Each case is different and talking with their doctor could help you determine the best course of action. In the meantime, however, take a look at these general tips for communicating with someone who is suffering from a TBI.

  1. Treat adults as adults. Treat people with dignity. If you offer assistance, wait for that offer to be accepted. Don’t assume they need the help. Assuming that someone needs help and not allowing them to accept assistance can make them feel embarrassed or less of an adult. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure of what to do.
  2. Try to move to a quieter place. TBIs can cause concentration problems. Someone with a TBI may have difficulty concentrating and an area with a lot of distractions can make that worse.
  3. Be patient. Be prepared to repeat things more than once. Short-term memory deficits are common with TBIs. Sometimes, TBIs can create problems with understanding things. Take your time and make sure your loved one understands what you are saying. Maybe try saying things in a different way. Regardless, make sure you remain patient and understanding.
  4. Listen. This can be hard for a lot of people. Remember, they may have something important to say. They may want to contribute to a conversation. It may take them more time to organize their thoughts and be able to clearly express themselves, so take the time to really listen to them.
  5. Be supportive and understanding. Recovering from a TBI is not a linear process. Symptoms can fluctuate and can be influenced by outside factors, such as noise levels and distractions. Stay positive – this can be a very difficult time and your loved one needs all the positive support he/she can get.

We hope this is helpful for you and your families. Feel free to pass this information along to other friends, family, colleagues, or anyone else who may know someone who has a traumatic brain injury.