A stroke can happen to anyone and at any age. Both the stroke patient and their caregiver may experience high levels of emotional, mental and physical stress during the process of stroke recovery.
You might need a temporary or long-term assistance to help your loved one to get back on track quickly with less stress. When someone has a stroke, recovery often involves a family member, spouse or friend helping their loved one to communicate after losing their speech or re-learn balance, movement and mobility skills due to weakness or paralysis on one side of the body.
Here are some tips to help families coping with stroke care at home:
Create a New Routine at Home
Home is where we can feel protected and secure, therefore making modifications to keep the home safe and manageable for someone who may have limited mobility and physical weakness is crucial. Going upstairs to the bedroom might be impossible as your loved one may require assistance.
To prevent falls in the shower, grab bars and/or seats might need to be installed in the bathrooms. When recovering from a stroke and going home from the hospital, these and other modifications can be very helpful.
Monitor Progress Daily
Every little bit counts, especially during the progress of recovery from a stroke, so it’s crucial to track progress everyday and use little successes to spur more significant changes. Stroke patients always want to assert their independence and wanting to “do it myself”. That’s fine, but we have to always remind them that it’s absolutely acceptable to ask for help.
Patience is a Virtue
The is an adjustment phase after any serious illness, therefore returning to new normal takes time. A parent or spouse who used to talk a lot may now be silent. A friend who formerly raced marathons may now require assistance only to walk a short distance. Being patient with yourself and your loved one is something you should always keep in your mind. And even though recovery almost always entails hard work, it’s necessary to let go and laugh as well every once in a while.
Make Healthy Choices
Changes in lifestyle will be a big part in many stroke survivors’ recovery and rehabilitation process. Maintaining healthy blood pressure, weight and cholesterol is crucial. Providing your loved one a balanced diet will lower their chance of experiencing another stroke and may ease the demands of stroke rehabilitation and other daily activities. Participating with your loved one in these healthy lifestyle choices will lower your own risk of stroke.
Consult your doctors about any developments and worries you may have regarding a loved one, and keep an eye on both your own and their physical and mental well-being. Remember FAST (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, Time to call for help), which can help you to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and take immediate action.
Set Personal Goals
Personal goals are always the best motivators for effective stroke therapy, whether it’s taking the dog for a walk, getting the mail from the mailbox, taking a shower or even emptying the dishwasher. Set realistic goals to keep yourself or loved ones motivated throughout the caring and rehabilitation process. For instance, setting a specific goal for a loved one to brush their teeth or wash their own hair may yield better outcomes than simply promising to “take care of myself”. But keep in mind that everyone healing process is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s crucial to remain flexible and maintain an open mind.
Last but not least, although the road to recovery is likely to take many turns, staying positive will be a key element to success. Just keep in mind that there are resources and assistance available to you all the time.