Enabling Technology: Changing How We Live with TBI
For many survivors of traumatic brain injury, life is never quite the same. TBI affects everyone differently, depending on the location of the injury. Was there damage to the frontal lobe? Loss of focus and impulsiveness may occur. The occipital lobe? Vision problems may crop up. Physical abilities, mental abilities, emotions, and personality can all be affected by TBI.
One of the hallmarks of TBI, however, is problems with short-term and long-term memory. People with TBI may not remember to care for themselves and for their home environment. They may have difficulty with language, speaking, remembering faces, as well as naming and identifying things.
A second hallmark of TBI is that planning and executive functioning may be impaired. This can make it very difficult for a person with TBI to complete tasks, follow a schedule, and adhere to a routine. Some people with TBI need prompting to complete daily tasks but also need enough time to move at their own pace.
Assistive technology – particularly customized remote support technology – can enable a person with TBI to take more ownership of daily life, gaining greater independence and asserting the dignity of taking reasonable risks.
SimplyHome's remote support technology is customized for each individual, in order to promote a wide variety of outcomes:
Establishing and Maintaining a Daily Routine
- Verbal prompts can be customized for the home environment. Individuals can receive scheduled reminders such as, “John, it’s time to get up and get dressed.”
- Verbal cues can also be based on sensors and time of day – if John enters the bathroom between 6-8pm, he can receive a verbal prompt such as, “John, don’t forget to brush your teeth after dinner.”
- Many individuals currently using our SimplyHome assistive technology use the verbal prompts to help them start their day on time, leave for work at the proper time, make sure to take their keys with them, or remember to shower, wash clothes, or complete chores.
- These prompts can be customized to occur based on each individual’s desired schedule. Routines can be adjusted as needs change, and the individual can go at their own pace.
Managing Medication Adherence and Chronic Conditions
- Often people with TBI need to utilize new strategies to remember things. If the individual with TBI is taking medicine, he or she may not remember to take it on time, or may miss a dose.
- Automated medication dispensers can prompt the individual (by utilizing a light or a buzzer) to take the medication, and alert a family member or another caregiver (by phone or text) if the medication is missed or not taken on time.
- Individuals who need to manage health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can be prompted to take their blood sugar/blood pressure and the measurement can be recorded using our Telehealth wellness tools.
- When Telehealth measurements (such as blood sugar or blood pressure) fall outside the normal range, a caregiver or a family member will receive an alert.
Access to Non-Emergency Assistance
- For some individuals with TBI, a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) is helpful. This device, which can be worn around the wrist or around the neck, allows the individual to summon help (from selected caregivers or family members) when they are in need of assistance.
- Some people with TBI have difficulty with balance and movement; having a PERS in one’s home can promote peace of mind, just in case a fall or another emergency should occur.
- Depending on the severity of the TBI symptoms, other people may not have emergency concerns, but simply need a way to quickly summon assistance for themselves, while maintaining independence in their own space.
The beauty of assistive technology is that it's not one-size-fits-all. We can all benefit from using technology to meet our goals – whether that is cooking a four-course meal, or simply using the kitchen safely; whether it means being able to start your own business out of your home (as some of our clients have done), or simply carrying out your daily routines in your own home.