Today more than 50 million people provide care for a loved one with a disability or illness- in addition to all of their other daily responsibilities. Caring for a victim of stroke requires careful attention and knowledge about the condition can help to reduce caregiver stressc When caring for a victim of stroke, it is especially important to be fully apprised of the physical and emotional changes that it can cause.
First assess how much care the stroke patient needs.
- What level of assistance does the person need for personal care such as bathing and dressing?
- How much help does the person need to get to doctor and rehab appointments, i.e. wheelchair van or will a walker do?
- How much mobility does the stroke patient have and how does this impact activities of daily life like eating?
It is important for the caregiver to be knowledgeable about stroke rehabilitation.
An easy way to do this is to attend a few physical therapy sessions with the patient. It’s not necessary for the caregiver to become a de facto physical therapist. It is important, however to be cognisant of the exercises and daily tasks that are beneficial for a stroke survivor to practice.
Understanding the stroke patient can improve caregiving
Realistic expectations on the part of the caregiver can greatly reduce stress and frustration. Stroke not only results in physical changes, but can cause emotional and mental changes as well. Understanding these can foster a more relaxed approach to caregiving. People who have suffered a stroke feel an immense sense of loss. Rehabilitating from the loss of speech or mobility can be a crushing blow. Gentle support and patience are powerful expressions of support and love. Keep an eye out for depression. Statistics show that 30 to 50% of stroke victims are affected by it.
It’s important to remember that when caregivers become tired, frustrated and even bitter, it spills over onto the patient, and delays their recovery. On the other hand, when caregivers care for themselves, take breaks and spend time with friends, caregiving can seem just a bit easier. It also helps to be brutally honest with oneself as a caregiver and identify what can and cannot be done for the patient. Caregiving should be a carefully calculated exercise that allows the caregiver to continue for the long term and the patient to recover as fully as possible.
LivHOME is a resource poised to support people who unexpectedly find themselves in the role of caregiver. We provide support for the family, management of care, and understanding of what the patient is experiencing. LivHOME skilled professionals help the family to find exactly the right amount of care that is needed so that everyone can find good health.