Seeing a loved one experience a stroke is never easy, and this can become even more difficult if you’re your loved one’s caregiver. Depending on the severity of the stroke, your loved one could have a long road to recovery ahead of them, which is why knowing exactly how to care for a loved one after a stroke is essential.
These tips below will help both you and your loved one adapt to these changes and promote a speedy recovery.
Knowledge is Power
Even if your loved one has already suffered a stroke, it’s never too late to learn about this complex and serious health condition. How much do you really know about stroke? This helpful article will provide all the basic information you need to know about stroke so you can provide the best care for your loved one.
Keep Track of Medications
Prescribed medications are key for your loved one’s recovery. Spend plenty of time with your loved one’s doctor to discuss his/her medications and their side effects. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability, so in some cases, your loved one’s home may need to be modified to meet his/her specific needs. A doctor, nurse or therapist can help you handle these changes.
Prevent Another Stroke
According to the National Stroke Association, one’s stroke risk increases by more than 40 percent within 5 years of a first stroke. Some of the most important and effective ways in which you can help your loved one prevent another stroke is by encouraging a healthy diet and regular exercise - even walking for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference! Here are the best exercises for stroke survivors, but be sure to speak with your loved one's physical therapist first before they begin a new exercise routine.
Look out for Signs of Depression
It’s a sad reality that anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of stroke survivors suffer from depression, especially if the stroke was debilitating. This can have a direct impact on your loved one’s ability to recover, so talk to your loved one’s doctor should you notice any changes in behavior or attitude.
Invest in a Medical Alert Device
Most stroke survivors suffer from limited mobility or imbalance, which is one reason why falls are so common after a stroke. A medical alert system is a great option for stroke survivors as it will allow your loved one to receive help in case they experience a fall or another medical emergency. Some medical alert companies, like Medical Guardian, even offer medical alert systems equipped with automatic fall detection technology, meaning that your loved one can still receive help in an emergency even if they are unable to push the button themselves.
In some cases, your loved one’s condition may be too complex for you to handle all by yourself – and that’s okay. If your loved one is showing signs of dizziness, imbalance, decreased mobility or even depression, see your loved one’s physician.
There are also plenty of stroke survivor and caregiver support groups out there, which could really benefit both you and your loved one. However, an important note before you attend these support groups: stroke affects each individual differently, so although it can be difficult not to, avoid comparing your loved one’s condition with others.
For more helpful tips on how to care for a loved one after a stroke, click here to learn the 15 things caregivers should know after a loved one has had a stroke according to the American Stroke Association.