Watching a loved one go through a stroke can be very difficult for everyone involved. There’s a good chance they’ll need skilled nursing care at home or at a facility as well as speech therapy or physical therapy as well as other rehabilitation services in order to regain their regular daily functionality. It’s frustrating for them and sometimes for the caregiver as well, so if you are a family member or a caregiver of someone who has suffered a stroke, here are some things that you can expect and prepare for:
The patient will have to take certain medications in order to meet their needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find out the details of the medication that they need to take. It’s important as the caregiver to fully understand the information regarding medication as it can be very dangerous. Never guess when it comes to medication. You need to be full informed.
- Risk of Another
If someone has already suffered a stroke, there is a high probability that it could happen again. The stroke survivor needs to eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly even if that just means taking daily walks. They’ll need to take the medications as prescribed and regularly visit with their doctor. Following these simple steps will reduce the risk of another stroke.
- Type of Recovery
Every patient recovers from a stroke differently. Try to avoid comparing your loved one to another stroke survivor. Each patient is unique because how the brain was affected can differ from patient to patient. This makes recovery slower or quicker for each patient depending on how severely they were affected and what part of the brain suffered the stroke. Just because your neighbor needed speech therapy does not necessarily mean that your loved one will and vice versa.
- Rate of Recovery
The quickest point of recovery is typically within the first three or four months after surviving a stroke. However, regaining function can continue into the one or two years following. It all depends on how they respond to their physical therapy, speech therapy and other rehabilitation methods. Don’t be discouraged if your loved one has not regained all of the control within the first few months.
- Signs of Difficulty
If your loved one is complaining of dizziness or seems imbalanced, has a hard time walking or moving or is unable to walk for more than five minutes at a time then there may be a need for a change in the type of physical therapy they are doing. Let their physician know what is going on and they will be able to decide what would be best.
While falls are not uncommon after having a stroke, they can be serious and cause a lot of pain or bruising and sometimes even bleeding. If your loved one falls, they should be taken to the emergency room to be treated. Even if you don’t think the fall was a big deal, they should still undergo x-rays to make sure that everything is okay.
- Changes in Behavior
Sometimes, a stroke survivor will have a period of depression following a stroke or will show signs of lack of emotional control. Their physician can help you develop a plan to help them if you think your loved one is suffering from something like this. These negative emotions and conditions can affect the recovery process and need to be addressed as soon as possible.
- The Caregiver’s Mental Well Being
People tend to forget about taking care of themselves because all of their energy and ability is taken up in caring for their loved one. Don’t forget to take a break when you need to. Never feel guilty about asking another family member or friend to help out for a little while. You must keep a happy balance in your life or you will not be able to help your loved one.
Care giving can be a stressful time. Speech therapy appointments, rehabilitation sessions, physical therapy, assistance at home; there’s so much to keep track of when you really want your loved one to recover. If you feel that it is becoming to much for you, there’s nothing wrong with looking into a nursing home or assisted living facility. They are there to help you out.