Caring for a loved one who has suffered a stroke can be a considerable responsibility to bear. Research has shown that stroke survivors may recover more quickly at home as they can reintegrate into their familiar environments much quicker than those who are rehabilitated in a traditional rehab center. Taking on the role of caregiver can be an overwhelming feat but there are ways that you can make this easier for yourself and your loved one.
Do Your Research
Take advantage of any opportunity to learn more about stroke, your loved one’s health, and the future. Participate in any support groups or activities the hospital may offer. Discuss the rehabilitation and healing process after a stroke with the medical staff. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to take care of your loved one. Encourage the stroke survivor to practice new abilities but resist the urge to constantly step in and assist.
There could be several complications that come with the stroke such as immobility or the loss of muscle action, difficulty speaking or swallowing, emotional anxiety, pain, loss of memory or cognitive difficulties, and modifications to behavior and self-care skills. It is vital to keep an eye open for depression as this can severely hamper the healing process.
Be aware of the risk of a second stroke. Encourage daily exercise, prepare healthy meals, and make sure your loved one takes their medication as directed and attends all their doctor’s visits. If your loved one has developed dysphagia (a swallowing disorder) because of the stroke, be sure to have them assessed by a speech-language pathologist. Follow the links on Simply Thick Facebook to order thickening gel, which can be used for thickening drinks and various food types to make these easier to swallow.
Be honest with yourself regarding what you can handle and what you might need assistance with. If friends offer help, take it! You could even just have them run errands, clean the kitchen, or do the grocery shopping so you can take a nap. Get support!
Getting outside assistance can make all the difference in your ability to strike a balance between your needs and those of your loved one. You may need to hire a part-time caregiver or make use of cleaning services, transportation services, or even meal providers. Caregiver support is readily available – you can choose between online support groups or local meetings in your area. You can feel less alone and more connected by speaking with other carers. You will also have the opportunity to exchange information and advice. You may experience an emotional rollercoaster and it is important to communicate these feelings without guilt. Studies have shown that carers are also susceptible to depression. The old cliché that you cannot pour from an empty cup is very true in this situation.
Look After Yourself
Taking care of your needs is not selfish; it is important and advantageous for both of you. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time to develop your caring skills and increase your confidence. Schedule some alone time and indulge in your favorite activities to refresh. Do not isolate yourself – keep in touch with your friends. Do not disregard your own health issues, and make sure you have routine checks and examinations. Discover new methods to handle stress. This could be taking time out to do some yoga, journaling, or even taking a walk in the park. You can maintain your strength by eating a nutritious diet, exercising frequently, and getting adequate sleep.
Laughter is the best medicine: your strongest line of defense against trying circumstances and emotions can be humor. Keep an open mind to the wonderful things life has to offer because you deserve to laugh and feel joy despite your burdens. Being a caregiver is a full-time commitment, but you need to also consider your own needs and get support after educating yourself on the role.