The key to supporting your loved ones after a stroke is understanding their needs and limitations. It’s not easy to watch someone you love struggle to regain their independence.
Stroke is a serious condition that can have a major impact on every aspect of your loved one’s life. But, with support, they can regain their independence and even improve their quality of life.
Supporting your loved one after a stroke is difficult enough, but it can be even harder if you have no understanding of stroke recovery or stroke care.
Here are some helpful tips that can make the process easier for you.
1. Assess the Needs of Your Loved One
You may think that your loved one is doing well after the stroke, but they may have a long way to go. They may need help with their daily activities, whether bathing, dressing, getting in and out of bed, or eating.
Before you can help your loved one, you have to understand their needs clearly. Do they need help dressing for bed at night? These are just a few of the questions you should ask them as soon as possible after a stroke.
2. Be Honest about Your Loved One’s Needs
You may be trying to help your loved one, but you need to ensure you’re not overdoing it. You can’t take on more than you can handle, or you could make things worse for your loved one. You also have to be honest about their limitations.
If your loved one cannot do anything on their own and needs assistance with basic tasks, be honest with them about this and don’t promise them that they will be able to do everything without help in the future.
3. Consider Safety
You can’t take on too many responsibilities at once, but it’s also important to remember that your loved one may need help with safety tasks, like bathing or dressing. When you’re helping your loved ones with these tasks, keep them safe from falling or injuring themselves. Use a bath seat and shower bar if needed. Make sure you have a guardrail and grab bars in the shower.
4. Remain Positive
Your loved one may be frustrated by their limitations and feel like they cannot do things on their own anymore, but you need to remain positive. They may not be able to do things independently, but you can make sure that they are doing everything possible for them.
You have to be patient and understand the situation and help your loved one regain their independence as quickly as possible.
5. Keep in Mind that bouts of Depression
Your loved one may feel depressed about their limitations and situation, especially when they begin to have difficulty performing daily tasks. Give them the time they need to grieve the loss of independence and help them get through this difficult time.
They may need to know that you are there for them at all times, no matter what. Be sure to express your love and support positively, even if your loved one doesn’t say much at first.
6. Know the Risk Factors for a Second Stroke
Second strokes are more likely to occur in people who have had one within the last six months or less. If your loved one has had a stroke, take precautions to prevent another stroke, such as wearing a medical alert bracelet and keeping an eye on your loved one’s health.
If they have had a previous stroke, check their medical history regularly and give them medications as prescribed by their doctor.
7. Resist the Urge to be Overprotective
It’s important to remember that your loved one is still an adult and should be able to make their own decisions. They may not be able to do some things on their own anymore, but they can still make basic decisions like when they want to go out and what they want to eat.
Don’t assume that your loved one will always need you or that you have any right to tell them what they can and cannot do.
8. Set up a Daily Routine
It’s important for your loved one to remain active and have a daily routine, even if it’s very basic. It helps them feel more in control of their lives and prevents boredom that could lead to depression and other mental issues.
Please encourage them to participate in simple tasks like going for walks or getting out of bed, but don’t push them.
As a caregiver, you have to take control of the situation and make sure that your loved one is as independent as possible. You can’t let your loved one’s illness get in the way of their life, and you have to be their advocate in helping them regain their independence.