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Hope for the Future

Hope for the Future

Tracy
Okay, so before we wrap it up for today, there’s a couple of things I’d like to share with you. Each person’s experience with the effects of TBI is unique as you know. And as you also know, brain injury presents many challenges for the survivors themselves, for their caregivers, for their entire families. And for many, that recovery will extend over an entire lifetime. There is no “normal” time frame for recovery. Many family members with severe injury surprise their doctors with an unexpected degree of improvement. Just like Sam.

And with the passage of time, and that dose of patience, and a really strong support system, most family members with TBI will go on to live productive and fulfilling lives. And I want you to keep in mind that returning to the community, to the family, to school or work after TBI is challenging, but it is possible. And it’s that possibility that you and your loved one must keep in mind throughout your whole caregiving journey.

Julie
Oh, Tracy, that is so true. This experience has shown Carl and me that there’s hope at every turn. We’ve found that through the doctors and the case managers. We’ve found that through our family and friends who came to support us. We found it in the small changes in Sam’s abilities.

There’s always been that hope. Even at the bleakest moment, there was always something that we could look back on or look forward to that could give us hope, and I wish that every caregiver could see that.

Carl
Julie’s right. Hope has kept us going through this past year. And I know that it will keep us going throughout Sam’s recovery. And who knows what challenges we’ll face as time goes on.

Tracy
Well I know for each of you, your journey as a caregiver will be challenging on many levels. And along the way, you may learn that you care about your family member with TBI beyond what you ever realized, and your strength reserves will surprise you…even when you’re tired and when you’re lonely. Just take pride in your ability to care for another human being. Think about the ways you’ve changed. Think about the ways you’ve grown through your caregiving experience. 

But most of all, I really encourage you to hang in there. This will continue to be difficult. It will be stressful and sometimes it will be a painful journey. Remember to ask for help, and remember to take care of yourselves. You can’t take care of your loved one if you don’t take good care of yourselves. 

And thank you all for spending your time here. I know how busy your lives are right now. It means a lot. And you have a good week. And like I said, hang in there.

Finding Meaning in Caregiving

Your journey as a caregiver may be challenging on many levels. Along the way, you may learn that you care about your service member/veteran with TBI beyond what you realized, and your reserves of strength may surprise you... even when you’re tired and lonely.

Take pride in your ability to be caring of another human being. Think about the ways you have changed and grown through your caregiving experience. Finding meaning in your caregiving journey will enlarge your sense of yourself and allow you to use your personal experience to give meaning to others.

Some caregivers find strength in religion or spirituality in the face of the challenges of taking care of a family member with TBI. You may find comfort in your religion or in the peace and beauty of nature. Nourish this part of your life if it is important to you because it may renew your spirit.

Your caregiving experience may change your life and your sense of self. Consider keeping a journal during your caregiving journey. Creating a journal will help you explore your own thoughts and feelings about what’s going on in your life.

You may find that you will want to look back on this period in your life at some point in the future. Your journal will be an important guidepost to what you were thinking and feeling. It may also help you see the changes that happened so slowly that you didn’t notice them at the time they happened.

Related Information:
Finding Meaning in Caregiving
Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions
"A really super thing for us in terms of communicating with the hospital staff—and the hospital already had this installed in the room—is a big dry erase board. Some people use it and some people don’t. We use it to make a list of all the things we want to talk about with the doctors. That way, if I’m not in the room when the doctors come by on their rotation, they’ve got the big list right there and they can see it clearly. That helps keep the communication going." -  Anna E.

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