Few things are as stressful and worrisome as when a loved one suffers a stroke. The rush to emergency, the worrying while the doctors assess their condition, and wondering how their life will change moving forward can be a lot to absorb and make sense of in a short period of time.
Once admitted to hospital, stroke survivors usually face treatment in the rehabilitation unit before returning home. That homecoming is a joyous occasion! Although they might still face a long recovery, you’ll be there to offer love and support when they need it. Getting directly involved will also help you understand the rehabilitation process and how the road ahead looks.
It’s truly wonderful that you want to step up. Here are 12 tips to help both you and your loved one make their ongoing recovery at home as happy and successful as possible:
- Learn about stroke rehabilitation: Take time to research what causes strokes, the recovery process, and available rehabilitation options. Doing so will deepen your understanding and help keep your loved one informed on what to expect. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario is an excellent resource for stroke information.
- Continue practicing rehab skills: Once your loved one is back at home, be sure to encourage and help them practice the skills they learned in the hospital. This will help maintain and advance mobility and self-care over the long term and make the transition to home care more manageable.
- Research assistive devices: Assistive devices may be needed to help improve your loved one’s mobility or ability to carry out simple day-to-day tasks. Ask their rehab team about which assistive devices they need to help them do as much as possible independently and aid in the recovery process. You may also qualify for financial assistance for medical devices.
- Support your loved one’s decisions: The person in your life who’s recovering from a stroke may have specific wishes about which rehab programs they’d like to participate in. Listen thoughtfully and support their decisions. Knowing you’re in their corner will help them put as much of their effort into rehabilitation as possible.
- Attend rehab sessions: When your loved one is scheduled for rehabilitation therapy, offer to drive/accompany them and attend the actual sessions. Observe their progress to know what they can do on their own and what they need help with. You can help them further their progress at home by reinforcing what the rehab therapists are teaching them.
- Ask lots of questions: Be sure to ask the rehabilitation team about their treatment goals, what strategies they will use, and how long when they expect to reach them. Take notes and track how your loved one performs as they progress through recovery, but avoid the temptation to push them too hard.
- Help with communication: After a stroke, your loved one might have trouble communicating through words. Be patient, speak slowly and allow plenty of time for a response. You can also use pictures, hand gestures, drawings, photographs, or computerized communication devices to communicate. Ask your loved one’s speech therapist for their input.
- Stay supportive and positive: Your loved one will be dealing with significant changes to their abilities, and they might seem discouraged at times. You can help by always being supportive and keeping a cheerful demeanour. A smile and some encouraging words will go a long way to keeping your loved one motivated to keep going. However, depression is prevalent among stroke survivors, so you should be aware of its symptoms and seek medical advice if they persist for longer than two weeks.
- Seek out support groups: You might feel alone in helping someone recover from a stroke, but always remember that you aren’t! Seek out local stroke support groups that can offer advice and answer your questions. You can also provide your input to others seeking support. Whether in-person or online, stroke support groups can offer a lot of comfort and solace when you need it the most.
- Practice good self-care: Helping someone recover from a stroke is a noble but exhausting task. You need to take care of yourself to avoid getting sick or burning out, which will limit your ability to help your loved one. East well, get lots of rest, and find time to do the activities you most enjoy. Be sure to keep in touch with family and friends, and make efforts to be social as much as possible.
- Seek help from family: The demands of care are time-consuming and can take you away from your own family, career, and other obligations. Recruit help from other family members or close friends to give you a break. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help. You’ll be happy you did in the long run.
- Hire professional help at home: You may already have rehab therapists coming into the house to assist your loved one with their recovery. You might also need help with day-to-day tasks such as homemaking, cooking, personal care, and keeping your loved one engaged with activities. You can hire eldercare professionals to take these tasks out of your hands when you or other family members aren’t available or you need a break.
The homecare phase of your loved one’s recovery is a journey that can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. As the inflammation caused by the stroke subsides, there should be significant gains in the stroke survivor’s progress. However, further strides can be made with diligent, regular rehab therapy.
CareHop can help your family on a path to recovery. We offer 24/7 on-demand or live-in respite care with registered experts who specialize in nursing care. Our team believes in the right for everyone to recover from illness or injury at home. We tailor our services to promote independent living for everyone we care for.
Carhop caregivers are fully trained and qualified to provide exceptionally compassionate care with encouraging smiles and happy demeanours. We always strive to bring joy and sunshine into your loved one’s home.
If you have any questions about our specialized home and elder care services, please reach out to us anytime.