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How to Help Your Loved One With Traumatic Brain Injury Adjust When You Move Houses

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Moving houses can be extremely challenging for anyone, but how can you have a successful move while also accounting for a loved one’s traumatic brain injury (TBI)? The first place to start is by analyzing the safety of the person with TBI.

When you look at available housing options, you may need to consider how wide the doorway frames are. It is essential that a person with TBI have wiggle room if they regularly use a wheelchair. When looking at houses, you also may need to consider if there are any stairs in the house. This may eliminate some housing options, but many people with TBI are not stable enough to walk up and down full stairways. If a house has steps, you might question whether you need to buy a ramp or whether you can make serious changes to a house. Ramps can range between $100-500 dollars, so planning accordingly is best.

A tiled walkway leading up to a house with shallow steps on one side.

Then, account for your loved one’s personal challenges. For some, this may mean uncontrollable outbursts or a lack of impulse control. Is this new house in close quarters with other neighbors? Would there be a noise complaint? Are there any shared walls that may make noise travel even further?

Is there any way to change your loved one’s routine so that they will still get their daily needs met in a new home setting? For example, if someone with TBI is used to having physical or occupational therapy outside, would it be possible to move your loved one’s workout inside the house? If the person with TBI is used to having physical activity outside, is there a way to time their new outside routine to avoid interfering with their new neighbors’ routines?

Another thing to consider is that when there are massive changes for any individual, there may be periods when people with traumatic brain injury need to adjust to their new environment. This may cause someone with TBI to regress in their healing journey, and they may have more incontinence, less balance when walking, or more physical or vocal outbursts. It may be wise to plan for this and to also be aware that this time period may last a few days to a few months — depending on how much your loved one can adapt.

If your loved one with traumatic brain injury is known to puncture walls or accidentally damage cabinets, it would be best to be proactive in your new home setting by setting up new standards and solutions before moving your loved one in. That may mean having an overlap between one house to the next. For example, when moving from a bedroom with carpet to a bedroom with linoleum, it may be easier for someone with TBI to scoot their bed away from the wall and unintentionally get hurt. To prevent an accident from occurring you may need to find a simple fix — like putting furniture sliders under an item or even removing a doorway to make a room more accessible.

A bed with red sheets, guardrails, and several stuffed animals.

Do not forget that individuals with traumatic brain injury are extremely resilient. Make sure you tell them how much you notice them adapting to their new home. These tips can make their healing journey easier when they move houses.

Image via contributor.

Originally published: August 11, 2022
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