My wife sustained a TBI almost four years ago when she fell from a ladder while washing a window. During conversations, she has trouble finding the words she wants to say and sometimes loses her train of thought. This makes social gatherings frustrating for her. Do you have any suggestions?
Social situations are hard because there is usually other noise and distractions. Here are some strategies that might help:
- Pick the quietest place in the room to have a conversation — away from the TV or music.
- Talk with one person at a time.
- Prepare some topics in advance.
- Bring photos of a vacation or family to share.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: “Sorry, I just lost my train of thought. What were we talking about?”
Family and friends can also help your wife if she is having trouble finding the right words or remembering what she wanted to say by giving her a gentle reminder or clue about the topic … “You said you liked that movie, too — is it George Clooney you like?”
It’s also helpful to remember that parties or even small social gatherings can be tiring and stressful, so recognizing when it’s time to leave is crucial.
Janet Brown, MA, CCC-SLP spent twenty years in practice at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. She is the former director of Health Care Services at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.