It’s not uncommon for people with brain injuries to put off receiving help because they think they will get better over time.
But after the brain is damaged, it needs proper training to re-build connections. People can develop negative habits without rehab, according to Dumke.
Individuals with brain injuries also face two types of roadblocks: functional difficulties that a brain injury causes and emotional challenges. According to Dumke, many people with these types of injuries lose hope – often because they don’t have access to the rehabilitative support they need.
“If rehab is not guided, it can go the wrong way and people don’t get the recovery they need after a brain injury,” she said. “The journey to recovery doesn’t end when a person is released from acute rehabilitation. This is why rehabilitation centres like the Watson Centre Society for Brain Health are so important.”
Access to a team of supportive friends, family and professionals plays an extremely important role in helping a person adjust to life after a brain injury – especially because society doesn’t always understand what it’s like to live with one.
Vincent enrolled at Watson in 2016 – five years after her seizure episode – when she felt like she couldn’t make any more progress.
She completed a seven-month program that involved fitness, cognitive exercises, mindfulness and meditation. After a few months, she realized her sense of humour had returned.
“When you have a brain injury, you don’t have the complexity of thinking to have a sense of humour,” she said.
Vincent is also better able to engage with her family, has more energy throughout the day, is able to think faster, exercise longer and follow and remember directions.
“I am able to manage day-to-day life better thanks to Watson,” she said. “It’s a safe place that really pushes the boundaries of recovery and that’s important for people with acquired brain injuries.”