Caring for a loved one following a stroke can be overwhelming. Rehabilitative success is measured incrementally with physical therapy often requiring a “one step forward, two steps back” approach. Then you hear your parent’s words clearly and see a smile upon their face and know that every step back has been worth it.
Many people do not realize the need for an advocate when it comes to the world of medicine. Treatment can be disjointed with care coming from various corners of the city and little communication between the different agencies. One member of the family needs to be your parent’s advocate. If it falls to you, the family caregiver, you will need to be the communication link. One person speaks to the various doctors, physical, occupational and speech therapists and then relays this information to the rest of the family. You will need to keep track of their health records and medications. Ask any pertinent questions and ensure that “one hand knows what the other is doing.”
Ask if their home needs to be modified in order to meet your parent’s needs and keep them safe. This may include removing throw rugs and other slipping hazards as well as diminishing clutter and other tripping hazards. Make sure their home is well lit and install grab bars in strategic locations such as the shower and by the toilet.
While much of your parent’s recovery will occur within the first three to four months following their stroke, it can continue well into the second year. Don’t give up hope and don’t let your parent either. Depression in post-stroke survivors is common—being experienced by as many as 30 to 50 percent. The tone you set will play a vital part in the mood and attitude of your parent. Remember to be thankful for the little things and benefits life brings, and it will help your parent do the same. Consider attending a support group for stroke survivors and those that care for them together.
Obtain the services of an elderly care provider a few days a week. They understand the special needs your parent faces and are well versed in physical limitations and the correct response. They can assist with daily activities, prepare healthy meals, provide transportation to appointments and run errands such as grocery shopping. One of the most important services they provide is companionship. Caregiver burnout is a real condition. It’s vital that you take time out each week to recharge, refresh and do the things you love. It’s better for you and it’s better for your parent.
If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home elderly care in Meriden, CT, please contact the caring staff at Franciscan Ever There Care. Call today 203-630-2881.