The Balancing Act of Caring for a Loved One with TBI

Dr. James Malec suggests caregivers try to be alert to symptoms that may develop post-injury like sleep disturbance or depression, but to lean on the side of trying not to worry too much.

See more videos with Dr. Malec.

I actually think that the best thing that families can do is to focus on the positive and give people with brain injuries a lot of support and feedback and love for getting better. It's good to be on the alert for common problems after brain injury-- like depression, or substance abuse, or sleep disturbance, or fatigue-- but I think it's also a mistake to feel like your main job is to worry, because that's an easy role to fall into, and I think it can be kind of harmful. In the end, I guess it's a balancing act. You don't want to be in complete denial about this--hey, everything's great-- but I think emphasizing the positive, kind of leaning that way, is really important. And who else is going to do it? The professionals are paid to worry--that's our job. You can find plenty of people to find fault, so I think the family's special place is trying to let people know how well they are doing. And again, I don't want to go overboard with that-- you know, to put on rose-colored glasses and everything's fine. But, a little bit of leaning towards the positive would be well-advised.
Posted on BrainLine November 1, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine, and Dan Edblom.