In the United States alone, more than 50 million people are providing care for loved ones with illnesses or disabilities. If you’re one of them and what you’re doing is helping a senior family member recover from a stroke, you’ll have several tasks on your to-do list. Here are six of the most challenging tasks stroke caregivers often have to handle.
1. Lending a Hand with Stroke Rehabilitation Efforts
The brain is most capable of rewiring itself during the first few months after a stroke. For this reason, one of the challenging tasks on your list will be to help your loved one with rehab efforts. This is a process that often involves:
• Helping with home-based therapies
• Assisting with the relearning of basic tasks, such as using utensils
• Helping with more personal tasks, such as toileting, grooming, and bathing
Address this task by staying in touch with your loved one’s doctors and therapists. These professionals should be able to offer some advice on how to handle the more challenging aspects of the rehab process at home.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
2. Handling Mobility Issues
It’s common for stroke survivors to be primarily affected on one side of their bodies. This often affects mobility to some extent, which means one of your tasks will be to help with mobility-related processes. For some senior stroke survivors, this includes assistance with transfers from beds to chairs. Mobility issues may be made easier by using assistive devices, such as wheelchairs and walkers, or setting up a temporary first-floor bedroom.
3. Helping with Speech/Communication Difficulties
The National Institutes of Health estimates about 20 percent of stroke survivors have issues with expression and comprehension of language that can make communication difficult. Ease frustration for yourself and your loved one by finding simple ways to continue to communicate. This might involve using a board with common words and symbols or asking mostly “yes” or “no” questions if your loved one can still nod and turn his or her head. Also, work with a speech-language pathologist to learn what else you can do to help your parent enhance his or her speech and communication abilities.
Professional caregivers can be a fantastic source of information and support for families of seniors recovering from strokes. The type of elder care McKinney, TX, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
4. Addressing the Emotional Effects of a Stroke
Stroke survivors sometimes experience personality shifts because of changes that occurred in their brains, which is known as pseudobulbar affect. The related changes can be startling and challenging, since they often happen without warning. Lifestyle changes and counseling may be helpful.
Some stroke survivors also become depressed or develop emotional issues because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to the trauma from their strokes. Pay attention to emotional changes and talk to your loved one’s doctor to determine the most appropriate steps to take. Oftentimes, extra support and comfort helps more than you may realize.
5. Maintaining Motivation
It’s sometimes challenging to handle the ups and downs of stroke recovery. This can happen if there are periods when progress slows or levels off, which is perfectly normal. However, it can be helpful for both you and your loved one to maintain motivation as much as possible as recovery progresses. Address this task by:
• Blending enjoyable activities with rehab/recovery efforts
• Playing soothing music during home therapy sessions to ease stress
• Celebrating small victories, such as being able to move fingers on the affected hand again
• Helping your loved one set realistic goals
6. Preventing Another Stroke
Another task that’s sometimes challenging for stroke caregivers is helping their loved ones prevent additional strokes. There’s no way to completely prevent recurrent strokes. That being said, you can reduce your loved one’s odds of having another stroke by encouraging a healthy lifestyle that involves:
• Performing exercises in line with your loved one’s capabilities
• Making healthy diet changes
• Limiting alcohol and discouraging smoking
• Sticking to a recommended medication/therapy regimen
Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. McKinney, TX, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (972) 548-0392 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.