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What can I do to help with rehabilitation for my husband after a severe axomal brain injury 9 weeks ago

After a car accident in which we were both involved I have recovered well.

My husband was not so lucky, but his bodily injuries have healed well. He is in rehab, long term memory quite good, but very poor short term memory.

He is getting very angry & frustrated, bored & just wants to come home. he was always an active person (Although retired) who has always worked with his hands as a metalworker. Any ideas what I can take into the hospital to help stimulate him & hold his interests. I have only joined today & am struggling still to come to terms with what has happened!

9 Replies

Idid jigsaws to help the manual dexterity, and once a week we had an art class, what about paint by numbers, I know it may seem childish, but I looked on it that I had regressed to childhood and my brain was like a toddlers and I had to relearn like they do, the frustration is awful, my sympathies, but a little tantrum now and again doesn't hurt xxxx Janet


i agree with everything janet said, and depending on how he is, maybe things like lego, mecano etc so he can keep making thing, its all about repetition, and keeping the mind working, thinking puzzle solving, especially early on as these things can become habits and became a natural thing rather than further down the line having to work harder at it it should help a lot more


Hi Dillyd

Things that worked for my friend were pens, paper, computer, jigsaws, TV, manicure set and her bike (well one of them) along with tools. Things that did not work were newspapers, magazines, radio, music. I think though that what works may be quite individual so don't worry if some of these suggestions are different for your husband.

And also it's great that you are on this site...support for you will help your husband too.


Hi dillyd,

Thank you for your post. I agree with the above comments, and if you send us a private message with your full name and address we can post you copies of our 'Rehabilitation after brain injury' and 'Redeveloping skills' booklets, which should add some ideas.

Alternatively, call our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or helpline@headway.org.uk.

Best wishes,



My husband also suffered brain injury from a stroke. He used to work as a geophysicist. One activity that he enjoys now is sorting through different kinds of rocks. Perhaps there is something that he enjoyed prior to the accident that could be turned into a sorting activity.


Hi Dillyd,

My partner suffered a severe diffuse axonal injury. He was not expected to survive, but 16 months later he is still here and has transferred to a transitional rehab unit. We did crosswords with me acting out the clues or changing them into something I thought he could answer. Keep your chin up. This may be a long and difficult road. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Try and stay positive. It may get very difficult and tiring at times but it will be worth it in the long run.


Thanks flintdog, it's the frustration & anger I find difficult to deal with. Ha has always been such an active person, now all he wants to do is go back to bed. I know it's a safety thing for him, he feels secure there, but because he sleeps during the day, he can't sleep at night. When I try to get him to stay up, he gets really angry with me.

He's not too bad during the day, but evening visits are very difficult



Don't forget to 'take care of yourself' xx


Use that anger, frustration, & direct it, it's like Alice (in wonderland) one's just got to go 'hell for leather' down that rabbit hole, you may not know where it's leading, but the hole (the brain) knows where it's going (at an instinctive level). Use the mechanisms of 'physical recovery' (exercises & physio. etc.,) to explore & construct the altered reality of the 'new mind' that the 'old' body's in. One has 'golden moments' just after (possibly), so 'seize the day' & 'run with the ball'...but remember after a brain injury one is making (largely) it up as one goes along, of course, listen to the neurologists, physiotherapists, & etc., but at the end of the day you hold key, the brain is a transformational tool capable of transforming itself - plasticity (or not) is real and it is within you. It will not be pretty, or comfortable, and certainly not, going where you want it to go, and it will be a 'white knuckle ride' - so hang on - best of luck!!!


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