If you’ve suddenly found yourself in the role of care-taking or supporting a loved one after a stroke, there are a few things you should know to best help them and also take care of yourself. A stroke is a sudden and serious condition that can come as a shock, which makes the recovery process difficult. It takes time and puts a strain on both the person who is recovering and the caregiver. Some of the long-term effects of a stroke include weakness on one side of the body, problems with balance and coordination, swallowing problems, speech and communication difficulties, difficulty with vision, difficulties with mental processing, inappropriate emotions, and tiredness.
Ask the medical team whether there are any small ways in which you can assist with your loved one’s care. As time goes on, ask the rehabilitation team to show you ways to provide support between therapy sessions. This could mean helping your loved one re-learn skills or practicing therapy exercises together. Recovering from a stroke is a gradual process. It’s important to encourage and motivate your loved ones as much as possible.
Take breaks, get some exercise, have plenty of sleep and plan regular healthy meals. It’s not easy knowing how to support a loved one. You’re going to make mistakes – that’s part of the learning process. And while each situation is unique, there are some universal suggestions of things to avoid when supporting a stroke survivor. The only way to be an effective caretaker is to make sure that you are not putting too much pressure on yourself.
`Each stroke is unique, and everyone will recover in different ways. Some people make an almost full recovery from a stroke, and others recover enough to be able to do many of the things they did before, perhaps with some support. But there are still those who have significant disabilities. That’s why it’s important not to compare their progress to anyone else’s.
Self-care is something many of us are not very good at. But supporting someone who has suffered a stroke requires longevity and good health. That’s why it’s critical to take the time to make sure your physical health and emotional health are being cared for.
Organize each day so that you have at least a little time to yourself. Ask family members or friends for help with specific tasks if you need it. And find a local support group to meet others in the same position as you.