The effects of a stroke can be an incredibly traumatic, possibly confusing time and stroke care can be daunting. There will often be more questions than answers and without a care plan it can be a very worrying period in the aftercare stage. There are some things that need to be left to the support care that you will receive but there are plenty of things that can be done to aid and assist your loved one if they are recovering from a stroke.
Don’t know something? Just ask.
Possibly the most important and effective thing that you can do is find out how much you can do to help. Ask questions of your healthcare provider so that you know whether you are going to be a help or a hinderance. The more you know, the more effective your support will be and you’ll also know what your limits are so that you can see where your help ends and the health workers’ begins. This can range from those first few steps when you’re back at home to developing a physical exercise plan as things progress. If it’s going to positively influence the support you can offer then there is no such thing as too many questions in this situation.
What support are you receiving?
Once you know what you can and can’t do, it’s time to think about what support you will be receiving from the health workers. Understanding what will be happening and when and by whom is vitally important. It will help you to understand what is coming but will also be vital in determining when you can have a break. If you know that on set days, at set times there will be a visit or an appointment it means that you can plan your life too. Having a break is as important to you as it is to give the support you are giving. There will be plenty of things that you need to know but just think about areas like medication, exercise, assessments.
Adapt your home
There will be parts of your home that you have never considered as a hazard but now that you have someone who is in recovery from a stroke, there will be new potential safety issues everywhere. Take a tour around your home and look at potential areas that could cause problems then decide if they can be adapted and how and by who. It could be anything from a stairlift to ramps where steps are or something relatively simple like extra handrails and handles for additional support.
Adapting your home is one thing but think about adapting daily activities too. There will be some things that can’t be done anymore, at least for the first few weeks, but some things can be adapted so that it gives an opportunity for activity and exercise. It does, of course, depend on the severity of the stroke but there are tools and implements that allow for one-handed use or walking sticks and other aids can help with movement too. Generally, there will often be something that can help mobility and assistance with daily routines.
Look at diet after a stroke
Just as with many other medical situations, diet can be a huge factor in recovery and healing. Look at your diet and see if it can or needs to be adapted in any way, it may be things that you have never even thought about before but it could make a huge difference. To reduce unnecessary stress on your body look at reducing fat, sodium and cholesterol. A balanced diet after a stroke can really make a difference but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to cut everything out and live like a monk! Just be mindful and sensible wherever you can.
Don’t forget the mind
One of the biggest impacts after a stroke is the psychological side. Depression and anxiety are huge factors in the recovery process of a stroke. This can have a knock-on effect on any relationships and often puts a huge strain on those that are caring and trying to help. Be aware that psychological recovery is just as important as physical recovery and can often take longer. The person should receive a psychological assessment from the healthcare team to help with a diagnosis of this.
Be prepared for change
Finally, this might sound obvious but prepare yourself and your loved one for that fact that things will be different. Whether it’s speech or movement or just general routine, the more that you can prepare and assist with this for yourself and your loved one the better. There will be times of frustration for both of you and it may seem like a dark place at times but the more you are prepared, the better. It may not fix the issues but if you’re ready then that is some way to learning to deal with it.
Dealing with a situation like caring for a stroke survivor can be a massive shock to your existing way of life. There are so many factors that come in to play not just from the stroke victim’s point of view but also from the family and friends that have to assist with the stroke care too. There will be challenges and low points but ultimately, many of these things can be overcome and in a lot of cases there is a positive point to work towards. Taking into account some of these tips and advice can make things somewhat easier, it may not offer an immediate or satisfactory solution but it can certainly assist, especially if you have nowhere to turn.
For further information on stroke care in Solihull or surrounding areas, and to discuss what options are best for your situation, get in touch with us here at Bright Dawn Home Care or call us on 01564 784 598. We’re happy to give advice and discuss stroke care options at home, sometimes it may not be the most obvious solution but that’s what we’re here for, to make sure things work for you, your loved one or even a friend who wants to stay independent.