A brain injury isn't just an issue for the person who suffers it. The entire family is impacted, and numerous lives can change forever. This creates a multitude of realistic life changes, financial challenges, emotional hurdles and much more.
For instance, perhaps your spouse gets involved in a car accident on the way home from a friend's house. What started as a low-key Wednesday night turns into the defining night of your life.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the Brain Injury Association of America notes that you may have to take on a multitude of jobs to keep life going smoothly. Things like banking, preparing meals, doing the laundry and taking the kids to school don't come to a sudden stop.
Granted, you probably took on many of those jobs before, but you also split them with your spouse. It can feel overwhelming to do it all on your own.
This is especially true because your spouse is still in the hospital at this point. You want to be there for him or her. You're grieving the unfortunate situation, looking into medical options and talking to both the doctors and the insurance company.
But the only change isn't immediate. Even with minor brain injuries that heal relatively well, there can be serious alterations down the road.
For instance, your spouse could come home with no memory of the accident, just feeling frustrated and irritable about what happened. He or she may have undergone serious personality changes, to the point that family members may feel like they don't even know the person anymore. Serious mental issues, like depression, are often reported.
Limitations may last forever. Some of those tasks that you took on right after the injury could wind up as yours to keep. If your spouse is no longer able to handle complex tasks and work with numbers, for instance, doing the banking, the taxes, and the family finances is no longer an option.
Of course, with serious brain injuries, there can be significant physical and cognitive changes. A person who can no longer speak needs assistance in simple communication. A person who can no longer walk needs physical assistance every day, likely for the rest of his or her life. Simple tasks like taking showers become time-consuming and difficult. Being a caregiver can turn into a full-time job.
You can't ignore these costs. You and your spouse both used to work. If your spouse can never get back in the workforce and also needs you to quit your job to become a caregiver, how do you pay the bills and care for the kids?
As you can see, the impact of a brain injury is far-reaching and may last for years or for life. In the face of these changes and monetary issues, be sure you know all of the options you have.