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Thinking and memory changes

Planning skills

When you have a brain injury, you may find it hard to plan, start, and finish an activity.

You may:

  • do steps out of order or miss steps
  • do things more than once or say the same thing over again
  • act quickly without thinking
  • need extra time to understand information and respond to it the right way

Tips for family and caregivers

  • Have them help around the house with things they can do, like setting the table, washing the dishes, or making a salad. These are tasks that need some planning but are ones they may be used to doing. Help only when they need it.
  • Use a checklist so they can check off each step of a task as they do it.
  • Break down the task into small steps. Be sure to explain the activity before they start.
  • Give instructions or directions slowly so they have enough time to understand and respond.
  • Give small reminders at each step. For example, when making a salad, ask them to prepare the lettuce. When that’s done, tell them how to make the dressing, and so on.
  • Lessen the amount of things on going on around them and what’s asked of them. If they’re putting something together (like a salad), make sure there aren’t too many things in front of them that they don’t need.
  • Give them extra time to plan how to do something.
  • Set a time to do tasks and put them in a calendar. Having a schedule to look at and a routine will help them plan.​

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