Caregivers play a critical role in post-stroke recovery. If you have a loved one who has recently suffered a stroke, you may not know the right steps to take. The first few weeks following a stroke is often the most difficult as the patient may require extensive care. As the recovery process progresses, your loved one may be able to overcome their weaknesses and increase their level of independence. Learn more about caring for a loved one following a stroke and how senior in-home care can provide additional care.
Know What Side Effects to Expect
Not everyone will experience the same side effects after suffering a stroke. Knowing what to expect can leave you better prepared to deal with these consequences. What effects your loved one suffers will generally depend on what part of the brain was affected. Damage to the right side of the brain can cause vision problems, paralysis, and memory loss, while damage to the left side can result in language problems and slow, cautious behavioral changes. When a stroke occurs in the brain stem, your loved one could suffer from a ‘locked-in’ state which leaves the patient unable to move or talk.
Your loved one may be prescribed a number of medications following his or her stroke. As the side effects of these medications can greatly vary, it is wise to do some research to find out what you can possibly expect. Common side effects of prescription medications include gastrointestinal issues like constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. Some individuals may also experience other side effects like pain, drowsiness, or skin reactions. If you are concerned about medications or their side effects, talk to your loved one’s doctor and have any questions you may have answered.
Offer Help with Personal Care
As suffering a stroke can affect a person’s physical and mental capabilities, personal care assistance may be needed throughout recovery and possibly beyond. Even the simplest of tasks such as teeth brushing, shaving, bathing, or eating can become unmanageable. Part of post-stroke rehabilitation involves helping stroke patients relearn basic skills. As a caregiver, you may need to assist your loved one with personal care, such as bathing, toileting, and other personal hygiene tasks. These tasks can be made easier by installing some adaptive tools in the home, such as grab rails in the shower.
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
The most rapid recovery after a stroke occurs within the first three to four months. After that initial period, recovery may begin to slow down or could even come to a standstill. To help your loved one recover to the best of their ability during this time, be sure to encourage a healthy lifestyle. This means maintaining a balanced diet containing lots of nutrient-rich foods. If possible, have your loved one exercise daily. Taking walks or participating in some type of physical therapy may be useful for stroke victims as they try to regain strength.
Monitor Mood and Behavior
In the weeks and months following a stroke, it is a good idea to monitor your loved one’s mood and behavior and look for changes. While it is normal for someone who has had a stroke to experience some emotional distress, it is how this stress it dealt with that is important. Statistics show that more than 50 percent of stroke survivors suffer from some degree of depression following their stroke. This not only affects mood and behavior but can also slow down recovery. If your loved one is showing signs of depression, such as irritability, social withdrawal, or sleep disturbances, be sure to speak to a doctor right away.
Make the Home Accessible
You can take some of the burden off of yourself by making the home more accessible to your loved one. Weakness on one side of the body or just a limb is common after a stroke. However, this side effect can make it difficult to move through the home and complete simple daily tasks. Make the home more accessible to your loved one by keeping a clear path from room to room. You may want to consider putting your loved one’s bed on the ground floor to avoid stairs. Install handrails to make getting in and out of the tub and on and off the toilet easier.
Look for Warning Signs of Having a Stroke
Know the warning signs of having a stroke in the event that your loved one experiences another incident. Sudden weakness or numbness that occurs in the face, on either side of the body, or in an arm or leg is the most common sign. A stroke victim may also experience sudden confusion or may have difficulty speaking. Other common signs of stroke include blurred vision in one or both of the eyes, severe headache with no known cause, or trouble with coordination, balance, or walking in general.
Acquire Senior In-Home Care Services
There may come a time when you are no longer able to care for your loved one. With family, work, and personal obligations, it is not always possible for family members to care for their loved ones long-term. That is why senior in-home care services exist. These services consist of experienced caregivers who provide care and companionship for seniors in the comfort of the senior’s own home. In-home care services typically include personal care services, medication services, and other crucial services such as transportation.
Senior in-home care companies offer a wide range of services designed to help stroke victims make a fast and healthy recovery. When you hire an in-home care provider, he or she can help your loved one with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, hygiene, grooming, and dressing, as well as instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) like cooking, light housekeeping, shopping, and doctor appointments. They can also provide companionship to prevent depression and loneliness. Do you want to learn more about the benefits of senior in-home care? Contact the senior care professionals at Comfort Home Care today.