Read about care after a stroke for a loved one, what that involves and how you can get support and help if you need it.
Caring for a loved one can be hard both physically and emotionally; it is not usually something we consciously choose but more a case of necessity. People provide care because they love a person but that doesn’t make the realities of day-to-day caring any easier.
One common reason that people end up providing care for their loved one, is because their loved one has suffered a stroke. This is more common than you might think, with over 100,000 strokes occurring in the UK every single year.
Strokes tend to happen very quickly and suddenly, but the recovery is a much longer process and caring for a loved one who has had a stroke can have a huge impact on how well they recover.
It is also very important to understand that providing care after a stroke can be extremely challenging in many different ways and you must look after yourself whilst also looking after your friend or family member.
The Initial Impact
The initial impact of a stroke on family and friends can be very difficult because it all happens so suddenly. Loss, fear, grief and confusion are all common emotions to feel when somebody you love has had a stroke. Your loved one might have lost their ability to speak, to walk or they might have complete personality changes. They might not even know who you are. There are also the adjustments that need to occur when your loved one comes back home. As a carer you will have a lot of new worries on your mind such as:
- How to cope in your new role as a carer
- What to do about the financial side of things
- Worrying about how much your loved one will recover, and if they will gain back basic abilities
- Considering your options if your loved one does need round the clock care in the future, will they need professional home care?
- Will the rest of your family continue to provide support?
These worries are totally normal and, you need to know you are not alone in your worries and in how much this has and will impact on you personally.
Initially the most important thing is to focus on recovery as lots can change in the first 30 days, and then after that there is still plenty of potential for further recovery to occur.
Excellent rehabilitation can make such a difference and if you are caring for a loved one at home after they have had a stroke, as long as you look out for yourself as well, you can help them recover as much as possible following this life-changing event.
In order to provide care after a stroke for a loved one, you must take care of your own emotional and physical health as a priority, which means you may need to ask for help. There are various means of support available and usually your first port of call will be the medical team supporting your loved one. Your GP, your social worker, the rehabilitation team and any specialists should all be able to help you with getting the support you need. Stroke.org has excellent advice on where to start when your loved one has just had a stroke.
You may also want to consider looking into care options if the medical team have suggested that the stroke was severe and ongoing support will be needed long term. Although nursing homes could be the right choice for you, don’t forget that care at home is a viable option for many people and it is usually preferable because it means your loved one gets to stay in familiar surroundings.
Look After Yourself So You Can Give The Best Possible Care
Remember there is plenty of support out there for you – you just have to reach out and take it. It is not selfish to want to protect your emotional and physical wellbeing; it could even be what ensures you can give the best possible care to your loved one and aid their recovery long term.