How to Help Your Partner Return to Their Normal Routine After Brain Injury


Paramedics and a brain injury person
Life after a brain injury

Brain Injury | Normal Routine After A TBI

Experiencing a brain injury is challenging, but the recovery can be even more complicated. Not being in control of your body can complicate things between spouses. These are a few key ways to help your partner return to their normal life after a brain injury, no matter how severe. Work alongside your partner’s doctor and they’ll have the best possible recovery experience.

1. Maintain Your Patience

When the brain rocks around the inside of someone’s skull, the healing process can be extensive. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may take weeks, months, or years to resolve. You may feel okay as the caretaker in your relationship right now, but that might change when so much time passes. It’s essential to find stress and anxiety management techniques for long-term success.

True love consistently demonstrates selfless acts of care, but you’re also human. You’ll eventually grow frustrated and stressed. As your partner heals through the stages of brain injury recovery, practicing techniques like journaling and exercising will strengthen your mental health so you’re the best caretaker possible.

2. Ask What They Need

It’s always a good idea to ask your partner what they need. It shows that you care. You can’t read their minds, but they may feel too embarrassed to ask for help if they can still speak. Jump at the chance to help them with small movements, understand conversations and even deal with personality changes. They’ll know nothing makes you think less of them and feel extra assured of your love.

3. Develop a Communication Method

TBIs can result in numerous side effects, like losing the ability to speak or form words. It isn’t always permanent, but it can force patients to find new communication methods while recovering. Partners are a significant source of help with that.

Consider your partner’s abilities to find ways to understand them. 

They could write their thoughts 

  • on a notepad, 
  • type them into their phone 
  • or use a speech-generating device if they can’t write. 

Gaining a new communication method creates independence and makes recovery easier. They may even experience intimacy after their brain injury faster because they can share verbal intimacy.

4. Avoid Taking Things Personally


People with moderate to severe TBIs may experience behavioral or emotional changes that last long-term. It could mean they have extreme mood swings or maintain an unusually sad or angry disposition than they normally would.

It’s easy to say more hurtful things when you’re not in your usual frame of mind. When conversations hurt your heart, remember not to take things personally. It’s also wise to seek professional help for healing your marriage after a brain injury. When your life settles into a new routine, couples therapy will make the journey easier for both of you.

5. Get Their Input on Dietary Changes

Your partner’s doctor will likely advise dietary changes to support their neural recovery. You may also have to swap solid foods for soft alternatives if your partner has difficulty chewing or swallowing. Ask for their input on which foods they prefer in whichever way they best communicate. They’ll be more at peace with their recovery journey if they have more input.

6. Resume Intimacy When They’re Ready

When someone loses control of their body, the lack of agency can make them feel undesirable. Try providing intimacy after your partner’s brain injury with gentle kissing, hugs, and holding hands.

When their doctor gives them the green light for further physical intimacy, it’s also essential to avoid expecting the same experiences you had in the past. Take things slow to prevent triggering convulsions or seizures and ask their doctor if you have any concerns.

7. Manage Your Caretaker Responsibilities

Caretaker burnout happens for even the most loving partners. Remember to ask for help when you need it. Friends and family members can assist with things like:

  • Managing finances
  • Taking kids to and from school
  • Running errands
  • Maintaining your property
  • Going to work
  • Attending doctor appointments
  • Driving to physical therapy appointments

There are many stages of brain injury recovery that don’t happen immediately. Get help whenever you need it to maintain a positive attitude and enough energy to support your partner in healthy ways.

Asking for assistance doesn’t mean you love your partner any less. Instead, think of it as an act of strength. You’ll support your partner better when you don’t feel exhausted, deal with brain fog or teeter on the edge of an emotional cliff.

Art therapy for man with a Brain injury
Art therapy

8. Provide Creative Outlets

Words may not always be the right outlet for your feelings. When your partner feels up for it, get creative outlets for you to vent your feelings. 

Whether you try activities by yourself or with your partner, things like painting, writing, or making art with clay could be the best way to release emotions you may not want to mention out loud. You’ll also gain new sources of joy in a difficult period of your life.

9. Schedule Couples Therapy

Many mental health therapists specialize in assisting clients with TBIs. Couples therapy is essential to healing your marriage after a brain injury. The therapist will teach you how to recognize and heal the rifts between you and your partner. You could even find virtual counseling if you don’t have the time or ability to travel to an office.

10. Give Increasing Doses of Independence

Give your partner the gift of independence as they heal and can do more things. It may help them more than anything because they’ll feel like themselves again. Whether they try walking to the bathroom, making a cup of tea, or unloading the dishwasher, let them know you’re there to help and allow them to try what their doctor approves.

Help Your Partner After a Brain Injury

Your partner’s doctor will help you both navigate the many stages of brain injury recovery, but there are other ways you can make life easier for your partner. Use these tips to give them what they need and support their mental health as their body heals. You’ll get help when needed and return to your normal routine sooner rather than later.

Author: Beth Rush is the content manager and Managing Editor at Body+Mind. She is a well-respected writer in the personal wellness space and shares knowledge on various topics related to nutrition, fitness, holistic health, mental health, and disease prevention. In her spare time, Beth enjoys going for runs and trying out new fitness trends.

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