How to care for a loved one after a stroke

August 07, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

Your parent or spouse has had a stroke. Now you find yourself navigating both the shock of the stroke and becoming a caregiver.

Being a caregiver can be difficult and overwhelming at times. The change from child or spouse to caregiver can bring on a lot of stress. The American Stroke Association offers tips to help you identify and deal with common issues as you care for your loved one:

  1. Get informed. What type of stroke did your loved one have? What side of the brain was affected? What caused the stroke? Learn about your loved one’s medications and the side effects. Getting informed can help you feel more in control of the situation.
  2. Reduce the risks. Stroke survivors are at an increased risk for a repeat occurrence. Encourage your loved one to follow a healthy diet, take prescribed medications, exercise and meet regularly with their doctor.
  3. Be prepared for changes in your loved one’s behavior and moods. Post-stroke depression is common in as many as 50 percent of stroke survivors. Consult your loved one’s physician if you notice signs of depression or if your loved one is having a difficult time emotionally.
  4. Realize that progress can happen quickly or come over time. Though the biggest gains occur within the first three to four months of a stroke, don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit longer. Progress can still come one to two years after a stroke.
  5. Get to know the details of your loved one’s health insurance plan. Talk to your loved one’s case worker, healthcare provider, social worker or insurance company to find out what’s covered and what’s not and determine your out-of-pocket expenses. Also understand that coverage may vary as your loved one’s health status changes.
  6. Be aware of falls. Falls are common after stroke. If a fall results in bruising, bleeding or severe pain, go to the emergency room. If your loved one has more than two minor falls within six months, contact their doctor.
  7. Take care of yourself. You will not be able to help your loved one if you are not taking proper care of yourself. Eat properly, get enough rest and allow yourself some breaks to relax. Stroke survivor and caregiver support groups can be a good resource for you and your loved one.

Through caregiving, you will likely find yourself spending more time with your parent or spouse than you had in the past. Take advantage of the time you have with them. Find ways to work in regular activities to enjoy with your loved one in your normal role of spouse or child, outside of the caregiver role.

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, we strive to provide the fastest, most efficient and effective stroke care possible. Learn more.

Learn more from Healthy Driven Chicago:

Windy City Live: Stroke Awareness Month

Why women need to put their health first

Getting help for depression

Related blogs:

How to ease the burden for a caregiver
How to prepare for long-term care as your loved one ages
How to prevent a stroke

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