Stories about Thriving with Independent Living after Brain Injury
The following are stories of real life survivors of brain injury. Clicking on the titles will take you to their actual story.
One of the hardest things for brain injured people is to regain the maturity to live independently. As Betty said earlier, she didn’t like being treated like an eight year old but recognizes that was the level she was on in some ways during her rehabilitation. Betty believes that because her parents (unlike many therapists)expected her to behave like an adult, she did learn to take care of herself and was able to live somewhat independently.
I live by my self now with only ADA bus rides as needed. I ride my bike to pay bills, book my own appointments, get my own groceries and cook my own food. I started Teamhilevel for the purpose of meeting and promoting others that also have accomplished â€œhilevelâ€ things during their recovery.
Doug was at Clearview for 13 months where he received therapy 6 days a week, the goal being to transition into living on his own as much as possible, as opposed to being placed in a nursing home or group home. He does have an aide who helps with grocery shopping and various household chores 2 hours/day. Walking to the Kwik Trip 2 blocks from his home to buy a paper, has given Doug the opportunity to work on important skills such as walking first with a wheelchair and then with a walker, and learning what kind of accommodations make his life easier in “the real world”.
Doug’s typical day begins at 7:30 to take medication. He handles fixing breakfast and dinner on his own; lunch is sent from the healthcare center to give him a break from preparing one of his daily meals. Other activities during the day include watching TV and using the computer to check emails and keep up with his favorite sports happenings. His aide arrives in the evening around 7.
Much of the concerns she describes are typically thought of as more pure cognitive than frontal lobe dysfunction, but the frontal lobes play a huge role in all cognitive tasks. And while her reference to being like an eighth grader was meant in terms of working knowledge, it is clear that it also applies to the issues of her capacity to live independently.
When asked what her living accomodatons were she explained; “I live independently but I live in an apartment house for people with disabilities or people over 62. So there are people and staff to watch me and observe me, and so they always know that if there’s a pair of gloves lying somewhere, they’re mine and they understand. One, one of the staff is a social worker. It’s also HUD housing so it’s, I, I’m able to live on the income that I have, okay. I’m getting Social Security. I got the disability. I also had a long-term disability policy through an insurance company, and that kicked in. What I love about
Brown County is that there are lots of resources; the Aging and Disability Resource Center, IRS, Social Security, they were all fabulous, and I couldn’t get instant results, but I got results in fairly quick, fairly quick response in terms of time, and I went, the woman who was kind of my case manager at the Aging and Disability, I went to see her and she said, those people aren’t going to want to keep taking care of you, and you aren’t going to want to keep living with them. It’s time to find you a place to live, and so she found me this apartment house.”