Parents of Adult with TBI

Caring for an Adult with Traumatic Brain Injury: Create the Personal Space You Need

When an adult child who has survived a brain injury comes to live with his/her parents, significant changes can occur to their lifestyle. The family of the person with the brain injury can function best by making sure the needs of care and dependency are balanced by the need for privacy and a sense of control over their situation.

Parents must give the survivor of brain injury opportunities to make certain decisions, although the types of decisions will depend on the person’s condition and capabilities. Because the person with the brain injury has lost control over many things in life, decision making allows him/her to have some control over what is happening. Depending upon the circumstances, decisions may range from what he/she wants to eat, to how they want to spend money. Be careful to set reasonable limits and avoid over-indulging the person’s wishes. Real-world expectations and consequences are usually best.

Both the survivor and the parents must have some time of their own. Ideally, these needs can be managed by modifying the home so that the survivor can have their own living area in the fashion of a private apartment. If the parents and survivor share the same living area, privacy can still be enjoyed. The parents might arrange for family or volunteers to take care of the survivor for one day a week, giving them time to be alone, visit friends, or entertain. If appropriate, the parents could arrange to be out of the house at certain times so the survivor can entertain friends on their own.

With proper planning and communication, the family can create the personal space they need, which also helps their adult child reintegrate into home life.