Living with brain injury

A brain injury can affect every part of a person’s life. In many cases, the effects of brain injury are invisible to others, this can make it even more difficult to find help. Since a brain injury differs from person to person and recovery depends on several factors, in many cases it’s difficult to know what long-term behavioural, cognitive, physical or emotional effects there will be.

When you acquire a brain injury, you will have to learn how to live with the challenges and changes it presents. This includes changes to your independence, abilities, work, and relationships with family, friends, and caregivers. This may cause a lot of emotions including stress, anger, depression and even grief. These new challenges will not only affect your life, but will also be a big change for your family and friends.

As you go through the stages of acute care, rehabilitation, and learning to manage and live with brain injury, you’re going to have a lot of questions. This is where it’s helpful to have supports and services.  With the help of others in healthcare, your community, your family, and your local brain injury association, you can begin to understand brain injury, the effects it can have, and how to manage changes.

This section of our website covers the kinds of changes you may experience, management tips, and information on the kinds of tools and services that can help you and your family navigate living with brain injury.

Adjusting to the new normal
After a brain injury, things will forever by changed. It will take some time to adjust to what is commonly referred to as the new normal.

Relationships after brain injury
Relationships with family, friends, and partners will be different after a brain injury. It’s important work with the other relationship members to navigate those changes.

Social life
After a brain injury, many people struggle to maintain a social life and social relationships. Socialization is incredibly important for a person’s overall health and well-being. Socializing after a brain injury can be challenging, but it is not impossible. There are ways to interact with others that can create a rich and fulfilling social life while still being mindful of changing abilities and needs.

Hearing loss
Hearing loss after brain injury can impact a person’s activities of daily living (ADLs). This can be quite an adjustment, but with time and patience, you can establish new practices.

Vision loss
Vision loss can drastically impact how a person lives their day-to-day life. Changes to vision are difficult and require many adaptations.

Dysphagia is a condition that causes difficult swallowing. This makes eating and getting enough food more challenging. There are several ways to manage dysphagia.

Brain injury & language
After a brain injury, some individuals experience challenges with language. This includes troubles with speaking, thought processing, reading and writing.

Nutrition is an important part of brain injury recovery because both the brain and body need proper nutrients in order to heal. Understanding and cultivating a healthy diet can help with overall health and well-being.

It is common for individuals to experience challenges with sleep after brain injury. A lack of sleep can in turn make symptoms of brain injury worse. That’s why it is important to develop a healthy sleep hygiene routine.

Assistive devices and technology
Assistive devices and technology are anything that helps make activities of daily living (ADLs) easier and increase quality of life.

 Depending on the severity of an individual’s injury and the extent of their needs, there are several housing options available after brain injury.

Substance use
Substance use can both increase the risk of brain injury and exacerbate symptoms post-injury.

Finances can be a stressor after brain injury, particularly if the individual is not able to work. We have compiled some information on managing money and accessing financial support.

The process of aging can both impact people with brain injury and increase the risk of acquiring a brain injury.

Driving after brain injury
After a brain injury, you may need to be re-certified to drive. You may also need accessibility features in order to use a vehicle.

Depending on the cause of your brain injury, you may be eligible for some insurance coverage. This section covers different policies available in Canada through personal and work plans.