Did Your Loved One Recently Suffer a Stroke? Here’s How You Can Help
A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply to part of the brain. It can occur if a blood vessel (artery) bursts or is blocked by a clot. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. The sooner a person receives medical care, the greater the chance of recovery.
Even with the best care, some people will have a long-term or permanent disability due to stroke. Depending on the area of the brain that was affected, your loved one may have difficulty with movement, speech, eating, understanding, or thinking. It’s important to remember that even though your loved one’s abilities have changed, they are still the same person you know and love. Today, The Stroke Recovery Foundation shares some practical ways to help your loved one navigate the days ahead.
Plan Your Move
If you live far away, relocating will make it much easier to care for your loved one. It’s an admirable show of support and will help you avoid many challenges of long-distance caregiving. Strokes can be debilitating, and your love and support may prove essential for your loved one’s rehabilitation and healing process.
If you’re considering a move, start by thoroughly researching the housing market. Remember to take into account your own circumstances, such as your job and family commitments. For example, if you run a business, you must consider how to relocate as smoothly as possible, so your business doesn’t suffer. It’s essential to carefully plan the logistics of the move, hire a reputable moving company, and give your clients adequate notice.
There are other ways to support your loved one if you’re unable to move, such as arranging in-home care or visiting as often as possible. Remember that even a short phone call can brighten their day.
Communicating with your loved one might be different after they’ve had a stroke. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Be patient and give your loved one time to adjust to their new abilities.
- If they have difficulty speaking, offer Yes/No questions that can be answered with a head nod or shake instead of open-ended questions.
- Repeat back what you think you heard to ensure understanding.
- Use visual cues such as pointing or showing instead of words when possible.
- Avoid finishing your loved one’s sentences for them.
Help With Eating and Drinking
If your loved one has trouble swallowing, plan meals that are soft, easy to chew, and contain no chunks (even if that means pureeing meals). You’ll also want to avoid any food or drink items that require mouths full of liquid to swallow, such as soups or milkshakes. Moreover, ensure your loved one sits upright while eating and drinking to prevent choking. And try using a cup with a built-in straw if drinking from a regular cup is difficult.
Keep Them Mobile
Helping your loved one move around will not only prevent bedsores but also reduce the risk of pneumonia by keeping their lungs clear. Assist them with turning from side to side every two hours while awake, and help position their pillows for comfort and support. If your loved one is able, mild exercises like moving their arms and legs can help increase their range of motion and flexibility.
Get Emotional Support
Stroke recovery can be emotionally challenging for survivors and caregivers alike. Don’t hesitate to express your feelings to others who understand what you’re going through – whether friends, family, support groups, clergy, or professional counselors. Also, take care of yourself by maintaining healthy eating habits and getting regular exercise and rest when possible.
If you have a loved one who has recently had a stroke, there are many ways you can help them through the recovery process. Remember the tips above for communicating with your loved one and helping them with daily tasks. Plan your move carefully if you relocate to be closer. And don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process.
Image via Pexels