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Caring for a Stroke Survivor: Tips for Caregivers

by Shannon, April 15, 2019

Caring for a Stroke Survivor: Tips for Caregivers

Caring for an individual who has survived a stroke can be a long-term commitment. In your new role as a caregiver, you may also find that the process is a big load to sometimes shoulder. You’re not alone. According to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, more than 50 million people in the U.S. alone are primary caregivers for their loved ones with illnesses or disabilities.

This doesn’t even include the nurturing caregivers from Care Indeed. At Care Indeed, we are committed to not only providing high-quality live-in and hourly care, we also believe it’s essential to educate our caregivers and clients. Our mission is to focus on how certain diseases and conditions affect our clients so we can better serve those afflicted with these ailments.

As we continue with our series on Strokes navigating the aftermath of stroke  we’d like to focus on how family members serving as primary or part-time caregivers can balance the task and provide the a loving environment for individuals recovering from a stroke.

 Focus on Education

One of the biggest challenges when caring for a stroke survivor is understanding what is happening to your loved one. Because strokes differ, symptoms and treatment options are often personalized. Therefore, the more you learn about not only what the stroke survivor is going through but also how you can help makes a significant difference in your well-being and your loved one’s well-being.

 When accompanying a stroke survivor to the doctor’s office, ask questions about what you can expect on a daily basis. For example, many stroke survivors experience the following:

  • Challenges with picking up items and judging distances
  • Paralysis or weakness on the left or right side of the body
  • Difficulty understanding someone’s tone of voice or facial expressions
  • Difficulty creating words or understanding the words of others
  • Slurred speech

 In addition to specific symptoms and ailments, your loved one may also struggle with:

  • Judgment
  • Attention
  • Thinking
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Awareness

 You need to be prepared for changes in your loved one’s mood and behavior and learn how to encourage and re-assure in times of need.

 Be a Key Part of Rehabilitation

Stroke survivors need to know that they have someone rooting for their recovery. You can be your loved one’s biggest cheerleader by participating in the rehabilitation process. It’s common during the first few months for a stroke survivor to feel defeated. Show that you are on his or her side by attending therapy sessions together. This also gives you the opportunity to ask the therapist questions about exercises you can perform together at home.

 Attending therapy sessions also gives you the tools to help a stroke survivor become more independent. You’ll be able to observe tasks and activities that he or she can do solely so that you are not overcompensating or offering too much assistance when at home or in public.

 Primarily, showing your support also involves boosting a stroke survivor’s confidence and encouraging self-reliance.

Monitor Behavior

As the primary or part-time caregiver of a stroke survivor, you are the one who is likely to witness changes in behavior and mood. Because stroke-related medication can cause side effects that affect mood and behavior, it’s best to keep a log of any changes you notice so that you can then relay this information to physical therapists and physicians.

 When your loved one is experiencing significant mood swings, encourage him or her to express feelings. Listen closely and offer reaffirming verbal and non-verbal support to show your loved one that you understand and that you care.

 Because depression is common among stroke survivors, it’s also crucial for you to notice any signs of depression developing. According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs of depression include:

  • Irritability, outbursts or frustration over small matters or setbacks
  • A feeling of emptiness, hopelessness or sadness
  • Changes in sleep patterns such as insomnia or sleeping more often than usual
  • A lack of energy and constant fatigue
  • Restlessness, agitation and anxiety
  • Trouble making decisions, remembering things, concentrating and thinking
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Slower than usual body movements
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

 If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from depression, contact his or her physician immediately to secure the medical attention needed.

Striking a Balance

Serving as a caregiver for a loved one who has suffered from a stroke can take its toll on your mental and physical health. That’s why it’s crucial for family caregivers to tend to their own needs as well.

 Help reduce the stress that comes with caring for a stroke survivor by opting for in-home care, such as the care provided by Care Indeed. Even if you just need assistance a few days a week, the additional help will allow you some “me” time that you desperately need.

Utilizing Care Indeed’s Support Services

If you or a loved one have experienced a stroke or at significant risk of a stroke, you need support, resources and compassion to navigate this condition. Care Indeed professionals are here for you.

 Support and care is essential as you cope with the reality of a stroke. Care Indeed professionals are highly-trained to assist with mobility, hygiene, transportation and companionship regardless of your condition or disease. We offer local resources for our clients and their families to help you understand the level of care you need. In addition, our professional caregivers are available to help you with daily tasks to ease the rehabilitation process after a stroke.

 Life after a stroke can be challenging, but it is possible to improve your overall quality of life. While you may struggle with the changes as a patient, caregiver or family member, the support you need is only a click away.

 Care Indeed is committed to providing you the support and in-home caregivers who understand your challenges and daily struggles at work and home. Learn more about how to get the support you need after a stroke today