As the third-leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in Canada, strokes continue to plague our society. With approximately 300,000 Canadians living with the effects of a stroke, proper post-stroke care is crucial to preventing an additional stroke during recovery and beyond.
After a stroke survivor is discharged from the hospital, they will either go into a long-term care facility, an inpatient rehab facility, or home, depending on how they can currently function. If they’re allowed to return home, they’ll need support to help them along on their recovery journey from family members and, in many cases, in-home personal support workers.
As a family caregiver, you’re taking on a loving role that will help the person overcome challenges and recover as much as possible from their stroke. Here are some tips that will help you provide the best care possible:
Ensure they keep up with their rehab exercises
Rehab exercise is one of the most crucial aspects of stroke recovery. It helps repair the brain and improve long-term mobility. Once you receive the list of rehab exercises from your loved one’s medical team, make sure they do them consistently until they’ve reached their fullest level of recovery. A lack of diligence in this area may cause their progress to backslide.
You can also add some specialized stroke exercises to their routine if they’re capable of the movements.
Make changes to their home to prevent falls
Falling is the number one cause of injuries in people over 65. A loved one falling during stroke recovery can be detrimental to their recovery. You can make their home safer with ten simple strategies that help mitigate the risk of falling and encourage them to try balance exercises for seniors to enhance home safety and help prevent falls.
Make sure they participate in therapy sessions
Usually within the first three months after the stroke, the brain will begin to heal itself. The time frame is different for everyone and hard to predict, which is why this phenomenon is known as spontaneous recovery. Your loved one’s participation in their physical, occupational, and speech therapy programs is crucial to improving recovery during this time, so ensure they participate in every session.
Openly communicate with your loved one’s medical team
Unlike most organs of the human body, the mysteries of the brain still elude medical science. It’s such a complex part of our bodies that the side effects of a stroke can vary significantly from person to person.
Openly communicate and work closely with your loved one’s medical team and PSWs who can help tailor their recovery according to the person’s unique condition.
Keep an eye out for signs of depression
A stroke can cause several noticeable changes in someone’s physical abilities. However, less visible – but equally important – are the psychological effects a stroke can have on a survivor.
Depression can be quite common in people who have had a stroke. A recent study noted that 25% – 40% of stroke survivors develop depression. This can be due to:
- Biochemical changes in the brain as a result of the stroke
- The person realizing the effects the stroke had on them
- Financial worries
- Feeling guilty that they may be a burden to others
- The recovery beginning to plateau
- Fear of another stroke
There are signs of depression in a stroke survivor and what to do when you notice them, including seeking outside help for psychological counselling. Remember to always actively listen to the stroke survivor and show unwavering love, empathy, and support at all times.
Cut the risk of another stroke
A stroke survivor’s risk of having another stroke is 15 times greater than people who haven’t had a stroke. It’s even more crucial for your loved one to take action on stroke prevention. A proactive approach to this will also support their recovery program.
Some stroke factors can’t be controlled, such as heredity or age. However, there are several steps your loved one can take to help mitigate another stroke, including proper nutrition, exercise, weight management, and quitting smoking.
Know the warning signs of another stroke
It’s essential to know the signs of a stroke so you can take fast action and improve the chances of a successful recovery. These signs include facial drooping, arm weakness, slurred speech, vertigo, sudden dizziness, changes in vision, or a severe headache.
If these signs present themselves in your loved one, call 911 immediately.
Seek support when you need it
Providing care for a stroke survivor is a loving, noble task. However, it can also be a demanding and time-consuming activity that takes you away from other important aspects of your life, such as family, career, and social activities. You might also feel alone sometimes and unsure where to turn for support.
In Toronto, many stroke caregiver support groups provide valuable resources to caregivers. Be sure to seek them out whenever you need a boost or additional information on stroke recovery care.
It’s also a good idea to hire professional caregivers to come into the home and help with your care duties. Never be afraid to ask for support. It will improve your loved one’s chances of recovery and allow you to take a break from caregiving when you need it.
In-home stroke care in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton
CareHop can help your loved ones during their stroke recovery journey. We offer 24/7 on-demand or live-in respite care with registered experts specializing in nursing care.
Carhop caregivers are fully trained to provide exceptional, compassionate care with encouraging smiles and happy demeanours.
If you have any questions about our specialized home and elder care services, please reach out to us anytime.