The Caregiver's Journey
Tracy reminds the group members that with the passage of time, a dose of patience, and a strong support system, most family members with TBI will go on to live productive and fulfilling lives.
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.
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.
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.
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.