Your Healthy Family: Cooking class helps TBI patients relearn basic life skills

Posted at 2:36 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2019-07-09 11:27:50-04

Suffering a traumatic brain injury also known as a TBI, can be debilitating for people in so many ways.  Depending on what part of the brain in inured and how severely people to struggle with everyday common tasks like cooking.

At Rocky Mountain Health care in Colorado Springs the Brain Care program works to help TBI patients regain independence and relearn how to do simple tasks like doing the laundry, paying your bills and cooking.  

Paig Barnes is a Training Facilitator in the program.  Paig leads a cooking class and explains, “What they do here is help each other.  Doing things like making sure that the recipes are followed. My job is making sure I follow them and make sure they’re doing it correctly.  Most of the time I stay out of it, because it’s all about them.”

Paig says she takes great pride in seeing what many of us might consider simple tasks, being accomplished by her class.  “Watching them progress and going through each recipe, it’s like re-learning things for the first time. Things like cutting the butter up, or melting it.  Those are the kind of things that many of us can take for granted. For these guys it’s really hard and they have to take it step by step.”

Linda Draayers is the Brain Care Program Manager and says cooking is just one example of the skills worked on in the program.  “Individuals have the opportunity to work on their cooking skills. We have laundry facilities we work on the day to day things.  We really challenge individuals and it’s all about reconnecting those neural pathways (in the brain) as much as possible and helping a person regain as much of their independence as they possibly can through our different classroom style structures.”

Another benefit of the cooking class is when the baked goods or dishes cooked get to be eaten.  Paig says, “I’m not bragging about my class, but these guys are pretty good. I have to give them a 10.”