News • 09 Jan 2019

Learning to speak again after a brain injury

Learning to speak again after a brain injury
Don (centre) with his brother, Rod, and Open Minds Support Worker, Caroline

“Don's got a great life, and great people looking after him, and the family really appreciate that. Being able to now talk to Don and knowing that he understands and that you can now get a response back is really good.” – Rod Anderson, brother of Open Minds client, Don.

Don, aged 67, acquired a brain injury 15 years ago, rendering him unable to speak.

A challenging and distressing time for the family, it was important to ensure that Don would receive the support he now needed to live an independent and positive future. Therefore, shortly after the accident, Don came to Open Minds for support. 

Open Minds now provides Don with:

  • 24/7 care 
  • Supported Independent Living – a home living with two men with shared hobbies and interests.
  • Community access – encouraging Don to get out into the community by going for walks, lunches out, shopping, visits to car shows, day trips and more
  • Cooking and nutrition 
  • Activities of daily living
  • Personal care

 

With the support of Open Minds, Don has worked towards achieving goals, most notably:

  • Speaking and communicating again
  • Gardening 
  • Food preparation and nutrition
  • Riding in a helicopter
  • Swimming

 

Rod, Don’s older brother, visits him every week and is delighted with the progress that he has made.

Rod said: “He’s come on a lot since the early days, he didn’t know where he was and wasn’t talking at all. With all the care and attention he gets here, it’s done him wonders.

“He’s got a great life, and great people looking after him, and the family really appreciate that. Being able to now talk to Don and knowing that he understands and that you can get a response back is really good.”

“All in all, he’s happy where he is and I hope he can keep staying here and getting the care he’s getting now because it’s excellent. The family and myself included, can all relax knowing that Don is getting the best of care and we don’t have to worry all the time.”

Since before the accident, Don has always been passionate about cars, especially Holden’s. He also likes Elvis Presley, listening to Rock n Roll music, and eating bacon and eggs on toast for breakfast with a Milo.

Caroline (Tarlee) is one of Don’s Support Workers at Open Minds, and has developed a close bond with him over the nine years she has supported him. Tarlee said: “Don has just come so far, from engaging, smiling, prepping meals, having a say, going out for activities, going away for holidays, the helicopter ride, car shows, everything, the focus is around Don and that’s what it should be. And he’s happy!

“Now that he can speak again, he has a voice and he has a say”

Don, making and enjoying a cup of tea with Support Worker, Caroline.