Caring for a loved one after a stroke can be very difficult for many family caregivers so it is important to know what to expect. Strokes can affect people in different ways and can even lead to different types of long term issues, but there are some basic things that family caregivers can do to help their loved ones. In this article we would like to offer some information for family caregivers about caring for an elderly loved one after a stroke.
The first thing that family caregivers should do is find out as much as they can about their loved one’s condition from their doctor so that they know what to expect. Once family caregivers have an idea of their loved one’s prognosis they can look online for extra information related to their diagnosis and try to find information from others who have experienced a similar situation. Communicating with someone that has experienced the same situation first hand or just reading any information that they have provided can be very helpful for many family caregivers because it gives them more insight on what to expect from people who have experienced it before. Family caregivers can also look for a support group in their area and talk with other family caregivers that are also caring for elderly loved ones after a stroke. Many family caregivers also find it very helpful to hire a homecare service to assist them for a period of time since they have worked with stroke patients before and know what to expect.
After completing any necessary research family caregivers should make sure that their loved one has a safe environment to recover in. Family caregivers should start by going through the house and moving anything that might cause seniors to slip and fall such as cords and rugs. Family caregivers can also make other areas of the house safer by providing grip bars for seniors to hold on to, especially in the bathroom around the shower area. After the house is safe, family caregivers should work on making sure that they are prepared to assist their loved one with anything that they might need help with during their recovery period. This often includes providing assistance with bathing or dressing or driving loved ones to appointments with their doctor. Many seniors feel more comfortable having someone from a homecare service assist them with bathing or dressing instead of their family members so family caregivers should keep this in mind and make sure that their loved one is comfortable. Coordinating appointments can also be very difficult for family caregivers, especially those with busy schedules so it is often good for family caregivers to make sure that they have a friend or family member that can help them if necessary. After a stroke many patients have to return to their doctor for checkups or attend physical therapy if they experience any difficulty moving after their stroke. Physical therapy is very important in the recovery process so family caregivers should make sure that their loved one is attending their therapy sessions on a regular basis. Many family caregivers find that it helps to attend the first few sessions with their loved one to help them settle in and stay motivated during the process.
Changes in Mood or Behavior
Family caregivers should also make sure that they are prepared for any possible changes in behavior or mood. Mood swings or behavioral changes are very common after a stroke so family caregivers should keep this in mind and try to be understanding and patient as they help their loved one recover. While some behavioral and mood changes are normal, it is important for family caregivers to watch for depression in their loved one. Studies suggest that 30-50% of stroke victims suffer from depression, so family caregivers should keep an eye out for any signs of depression in their loved one. Family caregivers can talk with their loved one’s doctor to find out more information about what behavior is normal and what they should be concerned about. Family caregivers that notice signs of depression in their loved ones should help them seek treatment immediately so that they can recover properly.
Following these tips is a good way to care for a loved one after a stroke, but the most important thing for family caregivers to remember is to be patient and seek extra help as needed. Caring for an elderly loved one after a stroke can be very difficult at times; with that said, there are plenty of ways that family caregivers can seek extra help caring for their elderly loved one after a stroke whether it is from friends and family, a support group or homecare services company. Family caregivers should also keep in mind that it is important to be supportive of their loved ones as they recover so that they can maintain their motivation and recover fully.
Additional articles in our home care blog about stroke:
- Emotional and Behavioral Changes after Stroke
- How to Recognize the Signs and Risk Factors of a Stroke
- Heart Healthy Eating after Heart Attack or Stroke