CEMM Virtual Library

The Caregiver's Journey

Decision Making and Problem Solving

Making decisions and solving problems take a lot of thinking. Both can be hard for people with TBI. Simple decision making and problem solving are easier than more complicated decision making and problem solving.

What you may see:

  • Taking a long time to make a decision
  • Making inappropriate and/or potentially harmful decisions
  • Problems reasoning
  • Responding impulsively to situations
  • Having a hard time recognizing problems
  • Slow to think of alternate solutions to problems
  • Tendency to be “concrete” in terms of problem solving, that is, difficulty making inferences
  • Taking things literally

How you can help:

  • Avoid having your service member/veteran make decisions when tired, hungry, or under stress.
  • Help your family member to weigh options and consequences of a decision.
  • Give your service member/veteran time to make a decision. Be patient and talk him or her through the possible options.
  • Limit the number of possible choices. Two or three choices is best. Too many are often overwhelming and can increase indecisiveness.
  • Avoid making last-minute decisions. 
  • Practice identifying a problem and following through with evaluating the options.

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