When someone is level 5, they:
- are alert and can pay attention to what’s going on around them
- have trouble focusing on the important parts of an event
- have lost a lot of their memory (which affects learning new things)
- get easily distracted and can’t focus their attention
- may seem to forget how to use things that they knew how to use before the injury
- will confuse the past and present
- may be able to follow simple, everyday conversations
- may be able to answer, “I’m fine, how are you?” but have trouble following deeper conversations
- may swear, even though they never did before
- depend on others to let them know when to do something
- may be able to do simple activities for self-care, but will still need some help
When someone is level 6, they:
- mean to act a certain way
- can follow simple directions
- can follow a schedule with some support (but changes in their routine can confuse them)
- need some direction
- may have problems with memory that can lead to making mistakes and poor decisions
- may have true memories of most things before the injury
- can pay attention and concentrate better –They often know things like where they are, the time, and the date.
- may know their healthcare providers and staff
- may be very attached to family members and call them often
- get easily overwhelmed with too much information
- can’t plan or predict future events
How to help during levels 5 and 6
You can do the following things to help your loved one during levels 5 and 6:
- Be patient. Repeat information as much as they need to help them learn ways to remember things.
- Share information about family and friends. Show them photos to help them recall memories.
- If they laugh or cry easily when you wouldn’t expect them to, act like it didn’t happen. Distract them by suggesting another activity, or change the topic until they calm down.
- Help them with homework or assignments they get from their therapists. Encourage them to write in their journal, phone, or other electronic device.
- Give them step-by-step instructions for basic tasks. Over time, give them fewer instructions for basic tasks so they can begin doing more things on their own.
- Help them count money and make change. Ask them about the steps to make coffee or do laundry. You can then ask them to do the task they just described.
- Let every situation be a learning experience. But don’t try to push them to do too many things on their own too quickly. Everyday tasks will still be hard for them.