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an elder blowing bubblesGeriatric Care Management provides rich opportunities to meet very special individuals, both other health care providers and of course clients and their families.

Recently, I met a wonderful woman at the monthly support group for the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation. Her name is Rachel Downing. Rachel is an LCSW with a background of pioneering work with the first Adult Day Health Program in the country. Rachel worked at the USC Andrus Gerontology Center doing early research on elder care management and also worked at John’s Hopkins Hospital as a member of their Geriatric Assessment Team. But here’s the most special thing about Rachel and her gift to give the brain injury community, she is a traumatic brain injury survivor and a stroke survivor herself.

In 2008 and 2010 Rachel suffered TBI (traumatic brain injury) from a fall and two years later, a CVA and has come back from both of these devastating blows with wisdom, skill and passion to help others. She has developed a specialized program for recovery from brain injury and is making it available to Grace Care’s clients and to anyone who is looking to maximize their rehabilitation using the same techniques that helped her regain her function and live a full and satisfactory life.

She says “Recovery from a brain injury is a long process. After official intervention of speech, occupational and physical therapy, much more can be done to continue recovery.  Individuals need the stimulation of new activities to support brain recovery. Every opportunity to socialize and chat makes a difference. The brain needs both physical activity and mental exercises to build new neural pathways.”

Rachel shares just a few of her techniques:

1. Coloring in coloring books using both hands.
2. Writing with the non-dominant hand.
3. Reading out loud, forwards and backwards. Summarizing what you read.
4. Listening to books or educational material on CD.
5. Playing with blocks and other building materials.
6. Imagining achieving your goals.
7. Playing word games.
8. Playing ball, playing catch with friends and family.
9. Prayer, meditation, listening to music and singing.
10. Celebrating small victories.

These are just a few of Rachel’s techniques and the very things that helped bring her back. She is anxious to share her talents, vast clinical background and her personal journey overcoming the unique obstacles encountered in recovery from brain injury and stroke.

Thank you Rachel for all you are doing!! You are a blessing and we look forward to working together to serve the brain injury community in San Diego.

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