When a loved one experiences a stroke, it can be an incredibly confusing time. There are many immediate unknowns as your loved one’s health care team evaluates the impact of the stroke. We are here to assure you that there is life and reason to have hope after a stroke. There will be many challenges in your role as a caregiver but you don’t have to face them alone. We are here to help! We have put together a few suggestions to decrease overwhelm for caregivers of stroke survivors.
Build A Support Team: Stroke recovery and rehabilitation will begin immediately, and it is important to surround yourself with a strong health care team to support both the stroke survivor and caregiver.
Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate: You must be your own health care advocate and don’t hesitate to ask questions of the health care team. Write your concerns down as they come to you, and ask all of your questions. You may have questions about why the stroke occurred, where the stroke occurred, trigger factors, probability of future strokes, long-term effects, and care for stroke patient once at home. Don’t hesitate to ask questions so that you can feel more comfortable. Having an understanding of what has occurred will enable you to begin to plan both the immediate and long-term next steps.
Caregivers Play a Critical Role: As the caregiver, you play a critical role in the survivor’s overall health management plan. Rehabilitation will be a key part of the treatment plan immediately after the stroke. This could include any number of services including physical therapy, speech therapy, counseling, and nutritional care, just to name a few. Your loved one may experience depression and anxiety. This is normal as medications, stress and physical limitations may increase your loved one’s frustration. Seek out resources and support to help you so that you can encourage and support your loved one.
Home Care Tip:
All caregivers need breaks to recharge and relax. Unfortunately, many caregivers are worried about leaving their loved one in the care of someone else they may also have feelings of guilt about wanting to take time away. We would like to encourage you to explore respite care services. It will make all the difference in your outlook, patience, and ability to offer encouragement and support to your loved one.