6 Most Challenging Tasks for Stroke Caregivers

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In the United States alone, more than 50 million people are providing care for loved ones with illnesses or disabilities. If you’re one of them and what you’re doing is helping a senior family member recover from a stroke, you’ll have several tasks on your to-do list. Here are six of the most challenging tasks stroke caregivers often have to handle. 

1. Lending a Hand with Stroke Rehabilitation Efforts

The brain is most capable of rewiring itself during the first few months after a stroke. For this reason, one of the challenging tasks on your list will be to help your loved one with rehab efforts. This is a process that often involves assisting with: 

  • Home-based therapies 
  • Relearning basic tasks, such as using utensils 
  • Personal tasks, such as toileting, grooming, and bathing 

Address this task by staying in touch with your loved one’s doctors and therapists. These professionals should be able to offer some advice on how to handle the more challenging aspects of the rehab process at home. 

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2. Handling Mobility Issues

It’s common for stroke survivors to be primarily affected on one side of the body. This often affects mobility to some extent, which means one of your tasks will be to help with mobility-related processes. For some senior stroke survivors, this includes assistance with transfers from beds to chairs. Mobility issues may be made easier by using assistive devices, such as wheelchairs and walkers, or setting up a temporary first-floor bedroom. 

3. Helping with Speech/Communication Difficulties

The National Institutes of Health estimates about 20 percent of stroke survivors have issues with expression and comprehension of language that can make communication difficult. Ease frustration for yourself and your loved one by finding simple ways to continue to communicate. This might involve using a board with common words and symbols or asking mostly “yes” or “no” questions if your loved one can still nod and turn his or her head. Also, work with a speech-language pathologist to learn what else you can do to help your parent enhance his or her speech and communication abilities.

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4. Addressing the Emotional Effects of a Stroke

Stroke survivors sometimes experience personality shifts because of changes that occurred in the brain, which is known as pseudobulbar affect. The related changes can be startling and challenging, since they often happen without warning. Lifestyle changes and counseling may be helpful. 

Some stroke survivors also become depressed or develop emotional issues because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to the trauma from their strokes. Pay attention to emotional changes and talk to your loved one’s doctor to determine the most appropriate steps to take. Oftentimes, extra support and comfort helps more than you may realize. 

5. Maintaining Motivation

It’s sometimes challenging to handle the ups and downs of stroke recovery. This can happen if there are periods when progress slows or levels off, which is perfectly normal. However, it can be helpful for both you and your loved one to maintain motivation as much as possible as recovery progresses. Address this task by: 

  • Blending enjoyable activities with rehab/recovery efforts 
  • Playing soothing music during home therapy sessions to ease stress 
  • Celebrating small victories, such as being able to move fingers on the affected hand again 
  • Helping your loved one set realistic goals 

6. Preventing Another Stroke

Another task that’s sometimes challenging for stroke caregivers is helping their loved ones prevent additional strokes. There’s no way to completely prevent recurrent strokes. That being said, you can reduce your loved one’s odds of having another stroke by encouraging a healthy lifestyle that involves: 

  • Performing exercises in line with your loved one’s capabilities 
  • Making healthy dietary changes 
  • Limiting alcohol and discouraging smoking 
  • Sticking to a recommended medication/therapy regimen 

Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Cincinnati, OH, in-home care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of an around-the-clock caregiver, your aging loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Assisting Hands Home Care. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call 513-993-5025 today.