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2277 Highway 36 West, Suite 200 Roseville, MN 55113-3830
Phone: 612-378-2742
Toll Free: 1-800-669-6442
Fax: 612-378-2789
E-Mail:info@braininjurymn.org
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Consumer Guide - Supports to Help Cope with Changes

Support Groups
Some people with brain injuries and their loved ones may find it beneficial to speak with others who understand firsthand what life is like after brain injury. Although support groups do not replace counseling services, they provide a supportive environment in which members can share frustrations, triumphs, and knowledge.

Support groups can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Emotional healing that comes when people interact with other people
  • Sharing similar experiences, which helps people feel less alone and more ready to deal with day-to-day issues
  • Encouragement that comes from learning how others have conquered situations similar to theirs
  • Education, which results from the exposure to information and personal experiences in a group
  • Socialization that occurs when connections with people are made
  • Confidence in social skills, which develops when successful or healthy interaction occurs in support groups
  • Self-expression, as emotions are experienced and released, which creates a greater understanding of oneself
  • Confidence building, which results as members take responsibility for the work of the group, and see progress with the plans they made
  • Safety, in the environment of a confidential, supportive, non-judgmental group, which allows for honest disclosure and sharing of common difficulties
  • A sense of growth that occurs as long-term members see new participants and reminisce about where they began and how far they have come in their personal journey.
  • The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance makes referrals to support groups throughout the state. Each support group is self-supported, self-directed and independent from the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance. For more information, contact us at 612-378-2742 or 800-669-6442.

    Recreation and Social Opportunities
    After a brain injury, re-establishing enjoyable social and recreational activities may at first seem insignificant. However, participation in leisure activities is an important part of the recovery process, both for children and adults. Recreation can be especially meaningful for persons with brain injury who are unable to continue with work activities. This section offers suggestions for locating and accessing mainstream and alternative recreational and leisure opportunities in your community for persons with brain injury.

    Assess Interests and Abilities
    First, assess your interests and abilities. What recreational skills have you maintained and what has been impacted or lost? What physical, emotional, social or cognitive limitations has brain injury placed on you? Are you ready and willing to try new activities? What are you looking for – fun, friendships and/or learning? Before engaging in a new sport or physical activity that involves any risk, it is advisable to check with your physician or other appropriate medical professional such as a certified therapeutic recreation specialist.

    Try to find programs that best fit your goals and match your interests and schedule. Be sure that a recreational program meets your medical, social, safety and mobility needs. Many hospitals have therapeutic recreation departments that can assess your recreational interests, skills and goals. You can talk to the hospital about getting an assessment or getting a copy of an assessment you had in the past.

    Adaptive Equipment
    Adaptive equipment is available to help you participate in certain recreational activities, from bicycling to skiing to bowling. There is a wide variety of equipment available to assist individuals with disabilities to participate in recreational activities. Adaptive equipment can be costly if it's not covered under your insurance; however, many recreational programs can provide you with adaptive equipment as needed.

    Integration
    Integration programs provide recreational opportunities for persons with disabilities as well as those without. At times, a person with a disability will be able to use modified equipment or assistance from peers to participate in integration programs. Integration promotes awareness of persons with disabilities, teaches respect for all people and increases self-esteem for all participants. Integrated activities can increase the quality of life for all people involved.

    Adult Day Programs
    Adult Day Programs are constructive, therapeutic activity programs available on an outpatient or day service basis. These programs offer opportunities for socialization and recreation through structured activities such as arts and crafts, cooking, exercise, and group discussions.