Pandemic impacts lives of those with brain injuries

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 7:05 PM EDT
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The isolation and changes brought on by the pandemic have been difficult for all of us, but it’s an especially trying time for those who’ve experienced injuries to their brains. Kathy McCarty has more on how this year has impacted those who’ve suffered brain injuries.

A car accident in 1999 left Carole Starr with a brain injury. After 21 years, she thought she’d learned to cope with her injury, then the pandemic hit and turned here world upside down.

“I was stunned by how much I fell apart when this whole pandemic started that because suddenly all of the systems, routines, strategies that I had spent, you know, years cultivating - everything fell apart. The places that I would normally go, I just can’t go any more; the medical providers I normally see, I can’t see them any more; the family and friends that I see on a regular basis, I can’t see in the same way,” says Carole Starr, Leader of Brain Injury Voices of Southern Maine.

The structure Starr based her life on is gone. She says it’s hard for someone with cognitive challenges, because change is especially difficult.

Starr says, “I have to nap probably twice as much now as I did before, because everything takes more energy - from going to the store, from participating on - on Zoom calls, from thinking about how do I do everything. It’s like everything is new.”

Starr says she’s learning to be gentle with herself and trying not to expect quite as much from her brain, because it can’t deliver. Suzanne Morneault says whether you’ve been injured in an accident or suffered a stroke, networking is important, especially now.

“If you know of somebody and you can make Zoom available to them - I’ve had family members, caregivers say ‘Hey, I need to get my dad into this meeting for support and to - to connect with other people. He’s very isolated.’ You can take a laptop to a family member and connect them with us on Zoom,” says Suzanne Morneault, co-

For a link to Morneault’s program, visit or

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