After your loved one has a stroke, you may feel like you have a million and one things to do and not know where to start. A stroke can have a wide range of effects on your loved one and the recovery process may even affect you if you are not monitoring yourself. Follow these 6 reminders to ease the stroke recovery journey with your loved one so you can both go through the process head-on.
1. Assess your loved one’s new needs
After your loved one has a stroke, it may feel like a whirlwind of things are happening and need to happen. Though, one of the first things you should do before your loved one gets back home from the hospital is to assess the needs of the patient. Talk directly to the patient’s doctor to assess these needs then assess your ability to fulfill these needs as a caregiver.
This will give you time to make necessary changes to your schedule, coordinate health care needs, manage finances, and overall set you up for success. Also, assessing your loved one’s needs will allow you to be realistic about what responsibilities you are able to handle and see where you may need help so you can plan accordingly. If the new responsibilities seem overwhelming, professional caregivers from our agency are trained for stroke recovery and ready to support you and your loved one through the process.
2. Consider home safety and make necessary modifications
Consult with your loved one’s primary care doctor, a nurse, an occupational therapist or other relevant medical personnel about house modifications you may need to make for safety reasons.
For example, the stroke recovery may be advised to avoid stairs so you may want to make a temporary bedroom downstairs or install a stair lift if possible. It all depends on your time, budget, and your loved one’s preferences of course. Don’t forget to involve them in these decisions. Even if you don’t ultimately go with their idea, at least they will feel like their input was considered.
3. Remember every stroke recovery is different
Most (but not all) survivors experience the most rapid recovery following the first 3 or 4 months after a stroke. Although, some survivors can take up to 1 or even 2 years to see the most recovery progress. No matter what recovery looks like for you, the most important thing to remember is just to be there for your loved one while through their recovery journey.
4. Watch for depression in your loved one and yourself
Approximately one third (~33%) of stroke survivors are affected by depression at any time after a stroke. It is a common symptom that makes recovery harder but it can be treated – you just need to watch out for the signs. Not only are stroke survivors susceptible to depression, so are caregivers of stroke survivors.
In fact, one study found that 30% to 33% of caregivers of stroke survivors were depressed at check-up – higher rates of depression than the stroke survivors in the same study! The earlier depression is caught in either one of you, the better so that it can be treated before it becomes overwhelming. That is why it is important to know the signs and watch out for them, some of which include:
- Feelings of sadness, loss, despair, or hopelessness that don’t improve
- Lack of interest or pleasure in one’s activities that typically bring joy
- Feeling self-critical, guilty, worthless, or like a failure
- Changes in appetite and/or sleeping patterns
- Inability to concentrate
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and loved one
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a doctor at the first signs of depression. It is never too early to catch and it is better to be on the safe side.
5. Enlist the help of others
Caring for a loved one after a stroke can be mentally and physically tough for the family caregiver (aka you) so it’s important to ask for help when you need it. Whether for a day, for a week, or if you need ongoing care, professionally trained in-home caregivers are available to support your care regime. Contact Professional Caretakers today and we can talk about the best plan of action to support you and your loved one’s stroke recovery.
6. Don’t forget to care for yourself in the process
It’s important that you consider your health physically and mentally too! Take a break when you can and ask other family members to help out. Eat healthy meals throughout the day, exercise, and get plenty of rest when you can. Schedule a trip to the spa, or even a weekend getaway by enlisting the help of others – which brings us to our next point.
Caregivers trained for stroke recovery are just a call away
Overall, remember that you are not alone in this recovery process. Don’t forget to care for yourself and enlist the help of trained caregiving professionals before you get overwhelmed. Professional Caretakers has a team of highly skilled and trained professionals who are happy to help you and your loved one during this difficult time. Contact Professional Caretakers today to learn more about how we can support your family together.