While strokes are a reality that most of us are aware of, very few expect themselves to become caregivers for someone who has suffered one. Still, millions of Americans end up in this situation every year and are often ill-prepared for the challenges it brings. You need to know how to take care of their every need and be aware of any special precautions you will need to take if you want to avoid issues and speed up their recovery. Let’s take a look at a few tips for caring for a relative after a stroke.
Communicate with Healthcare Professionals
You need to be thoroughly informed if you’re going to care for someone who has suffered a stroke properly. They may have to deal with chronic conditions after the stroke, such as dysphagia, for instance. Dysphagia is when someone starts having difficulties swallowing, and is very common in stroke survivors. Usually, the patient will have to use thickening agents like Simply Thick to make liquids easier to swallow. Certain foods will need to be prepared differently. Only a doctor will be able to explain what dysphagia is to you and explain what you should and should not do.
Look at Your Finances
We understand you want to be as selfless as possible during this time, but you will need to take a long hard look at your finances and see how much you can handle. If your finances are already tight and you can’t take too much time off of work, know that Medicare will cover medical and rehabilitation services as well as any outpatient therapy the patient needs.
Play an Active Role in the Rehabilitation Process
At this point, your relative will need your support, so you should be as active as possible in the rehabilitation process. Try to help them if they have exercises to perform at home and accompany them to appointments. This will make them feel less isolated and could even speed up their recovery.
You have to be careful to not be too overbearing and protective, however. They have to regain some sense of autonomy so they don’t feel like a burden and start having hope for the future. So, let them handle any tasks that you feel they can perform safely.
Monitor their Mood and Behavior
You also have to pay close attention to their mental state. They have to feel comfortable opening up to you. You also have to realize when they may need professional help. It’s very common for people to suffer from depression after a stroke, so, you might have to look at whether they could use emotional therapy. There are also support groups for stroke survivors that they can join, so we suggest you give those a look as well.
These are all things you’ll have to keep in mind when stepping in as a caregiver for someone who has suffered a stroke. You will be playing an important role in their recovery, so make sure that you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally.