Welwyn Garden City man details struggle with memory loss for Action on Brain Injury week

Darren from Welwyn Garden City suffered a brain injury in 2012. Picture: Supplied

Darren from Welwyn Garden City suffered a brain injury in 2012. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

Hertfordshire Headway rose awareness of memory loss and the impact it has on those with it for Action on Brain Injury week.

A recent study by Headway – the brain injury association found that 72 per cent of brain injury survivors feel that the people in their life don’t understand their memory problems.

The study also found 81 per cent felt that their life would be improved if people had a better understanding of this complex condition.

Darren Johnson from Welwyn Garden City is one of those who have suffered a brain injury and has been battling with memory loss ever since.

The 48-year-old suffered his brain injury after falling down the stairs in 2012 and was in Addenbrookes hospital for three months, after which he moved to Danesbury House to start his rehabilitation.

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When he moved to Danesbury, Darren could not even lift a cup and so he got in touch with Headway Hertfordshire in January 2013, six months after his brain injury.

He had many challenges, particularly with his short-term memory, Darren said: “I can remember things from when I was age 4 or 5 but I can’t remember what I did yesterday!”

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These ongoing memory problems means that he struggles with organisation and relies on his wife and carer Alison, as well as putting everything into this phone calendar to remind him of events and appointments.

Headway Hertfordshire helped Darren develop a support network through attending the Welwyn Peer Support group where everyone has suffered a brain injury.

This group provides a local social group which was particularly important through lockdown, when Darren would often chat to other group members on the phone when unable to meet in the group.

Since working with Headway Hertfordshire, Darren has become a brain injury ambassador, as well as giving speeches to social workers to help them to understand the impact of a brain injury and taking part in memory research for Addenbrookes hospital.

John Archer, CEO of Headway Hertfordshire, said: “It’s clear that there is a lack of understanding about the challenges memory loss can present for brain injury survivors and their loved ones.

“These findings highlight the vital importance of raising awareness of this often-hidden effect of brain injury, with which many survivors continue to struggle with long after the initial injury.

“It is a matter of real concern that so many brain injury survivors have told us that memory problems have had a profound and negative impact on their lives.

“Throughout this week we are raising awareness of the disabling effects of memory loss and improve life after brain injury.”

For more information on memory, how it is affected by brain injury and tips for improving memory see: headway-herts.org.uk/all-about-memory/.

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