Updated: Aug 7
Returning home from the hospital after a brain injury can be tough. Both suffering from and surviving such a condition can be a tremendous ordeal. Going back home means confronting your new limits—such as your fatigue level and symptoms triggers—and coming to terms with the fact that you’ll have to live life a little differently from now on. It’s okay to mourn that fact. However, it’s also important to adjust your home to your new circumstances. That way, you can create a safe space for yourself that's conducive to your healing process and recovery. The following is an overview of essential home modifications you can make to help with your brain injury recovery.
Improving the accessibility of major home fixtures
Brain injuries affect everyone differently, and you may have mobility issues that require assisting aids such as a cane or a wheelchair. One of the element to factor is may then be to make sure that your home environment is entirely accessible to you. This consists of checking several factors.
Firstly, can you enter your home with ease? Wheelchair usage ideally has you living on the first floor or in an apartment equipped with elevators. Secondly, can you reach your items from countertops and cabinets while sitting down? While your injury may allow you to stand for a few minutes, doing so repeatedly can be painful or translate in increased risks of fall. If your financial situation allows you to do so, you can look at lowering your counters, purchasing adjustable height desks or taking a good look around your house and identify a few spots where you can make sure that essential items are within reach. Lastly, you’ll want to assess if you’d like to add any safety precautions—for example, rails in the bathroom to help you maneuver when you’re showering or using the toilet. For this, you can consult an occupational therapist to advise you on what fixtures you should add, change, or replace. Whether you prefer to look for a new place that better caters for your needs or wish to keep your house, it’s important to ensure that all major fixtures can facilitate your recovery from brain injury.
Making use of ergonomic furniture
Ergonomic furniture is specifically designed to minimize musculoskeletal pain and maximize comfort—so if your brain injury causes any physical pain or discomfort, investing in such furniture can be worthwhile. Buying ergonomic chairs can help you sit with proper posture and support your back, which can be especially helpful if you’re still recuperating your motor skills and spending long hours sitting down. Nowadays, you can get models with lumbar support and mesh backrest that imitates your spine’s natural curve. If you like using your computer, consider getting a laptop prop that will allow you to keep your monitor at eye level and reduce neck and eye strain—or a trackball mouse that prevents wrist strain. Ultimately, supplying your home with furniture that keeps you comfortable while recovering can be a worthy investment.
Adjustment for light sensitivity
Your brain injury might be causing your eyes to be more sensitive to light. You can recognize that if you’ve been squinting more often or experiencing frequent headaches. In that case, avoid stark brightness for a while. If you like going outdoors, there are a few things you can do to minimize light sensitivity such as keeping to shaded areas, wearing a sunhat or wearing sunglasses. For your home’s interiors, you may want to replace your fluorescent bulbs with a soothing warm LED light bulb and install a dimming switch for good measure. This will allow you to lighten or dim your space per your needs. Getting natural light is important to your wellbeing, but if it keeps you from getting good rest time during the day or interferes with your sleep at night, black-out curtain may be something you’d like to look into.
Solutions for noise sensitivity
Loud sounds can aggravate your brain injury symptoms, and you may want to soundproof your rooms. A simple way to do that is by placing sound-absorbing foam on your walls or covering your windows with soundproof curtains that block out noise and vibrations. That way, you can give yourself the peace and quiet you need to recover. However, soundproofing rooms may not be an option for everyone so perhaps looking into ear plugs or noise reducing headphones may be a more realistic option for you. They will allow you to reduce unnecessary distractions and you may find that they often help increase your concentration and contribute to minimizing fatigue. Your home should be your safe space, especially post-brain injury. Occupation therapists may be able to provide further advices specific to your home so consider requesting their support once you get to go back home. Considering making modifications to your home that will ensure your well-being and security as you recover is likely to have a positive impact on your overall recovery.