Having a loved one suffer from a stroke can be difficult to process and accept. The post-stroke condition can have long-term effects such as partial paralysis and coordination problems. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of caring for someone after a stroke, but there are plenty of things you can do at home to make the caregiving experience as stress-free as possible while ensuring your older loved one has a smooth recovery and every chance to return to their usual capabilities.
It’s worth noting that one in four strokes occur in people who have previously had a stroke. With your help and the implementation of an effective recovery plan, your loved one can avoid having another attack and continue to live a quality life.
Here are seven ways you can help improve the chances of your loved one having a full recovery from stroke:
Encourage mental exercise
A stroke damages brain cells, resulting in loss of ability to communicate and function as usual. As a caregiver, you should prepare mental exercises to help your loved one get back on track by engaging in conversation, providing puzzles, and introducing other activities that will get their brain to work. The type of activity will depend on the severity of your loved one’s condition.
Neuroplasticity allows the brain to recover, so daily mental exercises can help speed up the recovery process and minimize long-term damage. As the brain heals, your loved one’s memory should also start recovering, but this process can take anywhere from a couple of months to a few years, depending on the severity of the damage.
Make home modifications to create a safe space
Your loved one might not be able to walk or navigate their living space as they did before due to being partially paralyzed or unable to coordinate their movements. To help mitigate the risk of potential falls or other hazardous situations, you should modify your home for their safety.
This means keeping walkways clear and installing aid equipment like railings. If they’re capable of doing some tasks on their own, consider leaving certain items in easily accessible places to allow them to be independent but still able to get dressed and ready.
Be proactive and attentive to issues
The recovery process is all about what works and what doesn’t. You should keep an eye on your loved one and try to identify any changes. Perhaps they aren’t reacting well to a specific medication, or they’re losing function instead of improving. You must communicate these developments to health professionals to take immediate action before they turn into permanent problems.
Your loved one might also not be capable of communicating any pain or issues they’re having, so be sure to keep an eye on any developments that might suggest discomfort.
Find a support group for guidance
You naturally want what’s best for your loved one, so you might find yourself putting all your effort into taking care of them. However, caring for an older loved one who has suffered from a stroke can be frustrating and overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. This can make you feel burnt out after a while, which is why it’s good to have a support group of people who have experienced the same process.
You’ll be relieved to discover that you’re not alone, and that there’s a whole community of people who can provide guidance and advice. This will help you face caregiving with greater confidence, creating a better care experience for you and your loved one.
Minimize stroke risks
When creating the care package for your older loved one, identify previous habits that might have caused the stroke, such as smoking, stress, or poor nutrition. During recovery, ensure that these risk factors are minimized and that your loved one stays healthy and on track to fully recover.
Remember, the chances of getting another stroke are greater now, so you must encourage the person to make lifestyle changes that will help avoid a repeat attack.
Understand their limitations
Strokes are scary and can cause a lot of damage. In some cases, patients can seem like they’re in a vegetative-like state where they can’t communicate properly or move. It can be upsetting to see a loved one like this, which is why you’ll be keen to improve their health quickly.
However, always remember that they can only recover as soon as their body allows them to. Ensure that you’re working at their pace and not forcing them to do too much or be under stress. Too much pressure can add to their chances of having a second stroke, so always act with kindness, love, and empathy during their recovery.
Ask for help
Caregiving can quickly escalate from a part-time endeavour to a 24-hour responsibility very quickly. It’s noble and admirable to want to commit to providing care, but doing so can be detrimental to your mental and physical health, especially if your care duties take you away from your family, career, and pursuits you enjoy.
It’s an excellent idea to avoid assuming full-time care responsibilities by soliciting help from family and close friends. This kind of support will take some of the load off your shoulders and allow you to take time for yourself to recharge.
Another great strategy is to employ a full-time care professional specially trained to help people recover from strokes. You can still be involved in the care plan and be there to support your loved one, knowing that there’s a healthcare professional helping them have an excellent recovery journey.
Stroke recovery support in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton
When you or a loved one needs help on the path to recovery, CareHop can help. Carehop caregivers are fully trained and qualified to provide exceptionally compassionate care with encouraging smiles and happy demeanours.
We specialize in professional 24/7 on-demand or live-in respite care. We can also help with day-to-day tasks such as homemaking, cooking, personal care, and keeping your loved one engaged with activities.
For more information about our in-home services, please feel free to contact us anytime. We’d love to discuss how our approach to quality health care can support your loved one and family when you need it the most.