Caring for an elderly loved one can be challenging at the best of times, yet caring for an elderly loved one after a stroke, is something that requires a huge amount of care and attention.
A stroke can be debilitating for somebody in their 30s, let alone their 70s, 80s, or 90s, which is why after-stroke care is so important.
To help you get your elderly loved one on the road to recovery following a stroke, here’s a look at how to provide care for a stroke patient and what you need to do.
One of the toughest parts of physical therapy after a stroke is dealing with the breakdown in communication.
Experts have found that around 25 – 40% of stroke patients experience communication problems, including a temporary loss of language because of the stroke. As awful as this is, it is quite common and is known as ‘aphasia’. Basically, it means that patients may not fully understand and process what was once considered basic information, and/or they may not be able to communicate or speak “normally” as such.
Try to understand what they can and cannot understand and help them to find ways of conveying basic info back to you, even if it is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ system.
As they begin to improve, you can try incorporating visual aids, or going with more complex words, phrases, or sentences.
Elderly people can sometimes suffer from fatigue as a result of their medication. To make matters worse however, a stroke can also leave them feeling drained, both physically and mentally.
An important aspect of after-stroke care, is all about helping them battle fatigue. Ensure they stay hydrated and eat energy rich foods, including plenty of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. You should also encourage them to take part in gentle exercise and ensure they’re getting enough sleep at night.
When providing care for stroke patients, it’s important to make time for yourself in addition to dedicating yourself to being a caregiver.
Becoming a caregiver for a stroke patient is tough, and can be as difficult to adjust to as becoming a new parent. Despite your new responsibilities however, you must ensure that you make time for yourself.
To ensure your mental health doesn’t suffer, make sure you find the time to do the things that you enjoy doing. You should also be sure to socialize with other people so as to avoid becoming isolated.
To ensure you can provide your loved one with the physical after-stroke therapy that they need, make sure you attend stroke rehabilitation courses.
If you can, bring the patient with you, if not, you can still attend by yourself and learn more about providing the care and attention they need after a stroke.
When it comes to after-stroke care, unless you absolutely have to, make sure you let your elderly loved one retain some independence after a stroke, rather than doing everything for them.
If they are able to make themselves a drink for example, let them make a drink instead of you doing it. By all means oversee them doing certain activities, but if they are able to do things for themselves, let them do these things rather than waiting on them hand and foot.
As a caregiver, looking after an elderly loved one following a stroke can be challenging to say the least. You will no doubt have questions about their recovery, and about the future, but rest assured, help is out there should you need it.
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