A stroke can be an overwhelming experience for both the individual and their family. The effects can be unsettling, as well as your new responsibilities, but having the correct information will aid in caring for a stroke patient at home.
Often it’s hard for us to understand the needs of an individual who has suffered from a stroke. However, the most important thing we can do for them is to put ourselves in their shoes in order to understand how best to help them.
If you suddenly find yourself in a situation in which you need to be caring for a loved one who has suffered a stroke, know that you are not alone. These are six steps you can take in order to care for them, how best to understand the effects strokes have, and acknowledge the setbacks that come with enduring a stroke.
1. Educate Yourself and Speak to a Professional
For the everyday person, there is a lot to learn about the condition and how one can be affected but it, as it can affect each person differently. Take every opportunity to learn, as it’ll equip you with the skills needed to be able to better care for your loved one.
Talk with healthcare professionals about stroke recovery, join support groups offered by hospitals or visit healthcare agencies to understand the necessary steps going forward.
2. Encourage Daily Rehabilitation Exercise
It’s important to attend the first few physical therapy sessions with a loved one. Not only is it an encouraging act that will help them feel less alone, but it’ll equip you with an understanding of what physical exercises need to be performed daily.
Once your loved one leaves a rehabilitation home or the hospital, you must encourage them to perform exercises daily as it’s the best remedy for a stroke. A daily exercise routine is part of the process of recovering from a stroke and will help them rewire their brain and regain control of their body.
If you are someone who can’t take much time off of work, a live-in caregiver can provide full-time care and assist with physical activities.
3. Take Note of the Side Effects of Medications
It’s not uncommon that side effects of medications prescribed for strokes can lead to drowsiness, impaired vision and nausea. These side effects can put your loved one at risk of falling and suffering from further injury.
Keep a record of any noticeable changes in behaviour, mood or development of unusual symptoms that the stroke survivor experiences. Records will also help future discussions with doctors and nurses to assess the individual’s well-being.
4. Assess Your Finances
Stroke treatment can be a financial burden, so it is essential to contact your insurance company to determine what treatments are covered. Generally, hospitalisation is covered, but long-term care and rehabilitation often have to come out of the pocket.
Assess your financial situation once you have spoken with your insurance company, and from there, you can set aside a budget for the expenses of caregiving.
5. Assess How Capable They Are of Performing Everyday Tasks
Depending on the severity of the stroke, your loved one may need assistance in performing everyday tasks, such as bathing, getting dressed, making tea or attending rehabilitation sessions. It’s important to assist where fit and keep a delicate balance between allowing them to accomplish tasks by themselves to gain independence and control over their lives.
As someone who is caring for another person, remember that you can’t do it all. It’s essential to look after yourself, too, so that you can show up as the best version of yourself for your loved one. If you feel as though there is too much on your plate, a live-in carer can provide that extra bit of support.
6. Be Mindful of Your Loved One’s Moods and Behaviours
A stroke is a traumatic experience for a person, so it’s only natural that a stroke victim may display behaviours and moods that you are not used to. Part of being a caregiver for a family member is being sympathetic to the moods and emotions that someone is showing and offering an ear to listen.
Depression is a common stroke symptom, so you must note any depressive behaviours to a professional to best address the situation.