Traumatic brain injuries (or TBI’s): we’ve all heard of them through the NFL controversies surrounding concussions and their long-term effects. But did you know that such examples account for a mere fraction of yearly cases in the United States? According to the CDC, roughly 1.5 million people experience a TBI each year, 50,000 of those leading to death and another 85,000 leading to life-long disabilities.
A catchall term for a variety of injuries to the brain, traumatic brain injuries have a wide range of causes and effects. In fact, no two TBI’s are the same. While mild cases can resolve without complications, moderate to severe cases often result in long-term consequences that can be challenging to predict. Such consequences can include: chronic headaches, issues with balance and coordination, loss of limb function, mild to severe cognitive problems, speech problems, memory loss, depression and anxiety, and a host of other issues. For many sufferers, the life-altering effects can be devastating. For some, treatment, rehabilitation and various therapies can return them to an independent way of life. For others, however, caring for themselves on their own becomes a difficult task.
Assistive Technology Can Help
For those cases in which some degree of independence can be reclaimed, a variety of assistive technologies can prove helpful to victims of traumatic brain injuries. Assistive technology can be defined as anything—low-tech, high-tech or somewhere in between—that aids disabled persons in managing daily tasks and increasing their independence. Consulting with an assistive technology specialist is the best way to discover those assistive technologies best suited to the unique challenges a TBI victim faces. However, we have compiled some of the more interesting assistive technologies relevant to traumatic brain injury sufferers.
- Smart Watches: these devices offer a range of functionalities that can prove useful to TBI victims. From alerts to take medications or attend doctor’s appointments to voice assistants that take dictation or conduct web searches, smart watches can be helpful for TBI sufferers with memory impairment or motor-coordination that might limit writing abilities.
- Smart Pens: these pens feature a built-in memory card and microphone. Not only can they record dictation at the click of a button, but they also record all writing, which can later be uploaded onto a computer and translated to a text file.
- Voice Recognition Software for Computers: such software allows sufferers with limited mobility or motor-coordination to control their laptop and desktop computers via voice commands.
- Planning Apps: such apps allow sufferers to plan their days in as much detail as necessary. For instance, a memory-comprised TBI victim might need to be remined not only to make breakfast in the morning but also of how to do it. Some apps will do both, offering a reminder followed by step-by-step instructions with pictures.
While these items offer only a small glimpse of the new assistive technologies out there, they showcase some of the exciting breakthroughs that are making life for traumatic brain injury victims easier on a day-to-day basis.
At Designed Living, we can assist in choosing the right assistive technology for patients with TBI. Contact us today at (949) 353-5400.