Stroke presents unique challenges for caregivers because it strikes without warning and can leave a drastically different person in its wake. Caring for a stroke survivor can be a life affirming role, but it requires strength, patience and commitment. Below are a few recommendations to help you and your loved one adjust to life after stroke:
Learn about stroke, its physical and emotional impact on your loved one, and what to expect during recovery. Your care team will provide answers and point you toward additional resources that many find invaluable.
The first rule of caregiving is to make sure your needs are met so you can stay strong for your loved one. For many people, this can be an adjustment, especially if you haven’t experience serious medical setbacks before. Support groups are vital sources of connection and understanding. Regular exercise is proven to relieve stress, as are activities such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness exercises. The goal is to make sure you’re there and ready to give your loved one the help they need.
Caregiving is not a one-person job. Get help when necessary. Family members and friends can pitch in so you can take breaks. If you’re asked “what can I do,” have a list of tasks ready so you can suggest ways they can help. Also, be aware of what you can and cannot do. Realistic goals and priorities are essential to being there for your loved one for the long haul.