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Caring For A Loved One After A Stroke

Affecting almost 800,000 people each year, strokes are one of the leading causes of death in America. Once recovery has begun, it is important to know how to help a loved one transition back into daily life. In-home care, setting up a family-care schedule and informing close neighbors are all great ways to make sure your loved one is safe during their rehabilitation process . Here are some tips for caring for a loved one after they have had a stroke.

Know The Signs

  • Numbness in their face, arms or legs. This happens mainly to one side of the body but can affect the entire body.
  • Problems with balance and coordination causing severe dizziness. This is dangerous as it can result in them falling and potentially causing even more damage to their body, or even worse, to their head.
  • Drooping of one side of their face is one of the most apparent signs. Often, they will lose the ability to control facial features, resulting in a still, “frozen” look.
  • Difficulty with speech, stuttering and repeating the same phrase can also signify a stroke is happening. Asking simple questions to see of they can give a solid response back can help identify any potential problems.

Recognizing a post-stroke seizure

After a stroke, there is massive brain damage which greatly affects mobility and communication. Because of this, they are at great risk of having a seizure, which many times, is subtle enough to go unnoticed at first. They are at the greatest risk during the first 24 hours, but they are common during the first week of recovery. Muscle spasms, tingling sensations in limbs and loss of consciousness are the most common signs that they might be experiencing a seizure. Calling 911 is the first step and from there, you will be instructed on the best way to care for your loved one until emergency professionals arrive.

Inform Your Neighbors

If the stroke victim lives alone or is left at home while you are running errands, at work, etc… Informing a close-by neighbor about their condition is a great way to ensure safety for them. Setting up periodic check-ins is another great idea to make sure they aren’t having trouble while home alone.

Establish A Physical Therapy Routine

This is an extremely important part of post-stroke rehabilitation. The lingering affects of the stoke may leave them partially disabled so helping them with light exercise movements will help them regain mobility. Many times, being in a pool while doing the exercises will help remove any excess weight that they might not be able to carry quite yet. This will allow them a better range of mobility and balance. This, of course, should only be done with direct supervision and is best after the one-week mark has passed in the event they suffer from a post-stroke seizure.

Be Aware Of Tripping And/Or Falling

Even after they have begun physical therapy, the possibility of tripping and/or falling is very likely. It is a good idea to make sure your home is free of any obstacles on the floor, tight walking spaces or slippery surfaces. Falling can cause severe damage to their body, resulting in long term pain, broken/cracked bones and internal bleeding. Even minor falls, if they repeatedly happen, can have lasting effects.

Observing Post-Stroke Depression

After the initial stroke has occurred, your loved one may have trouble with communication. This may leave them feeling anxious, frustrated and confused. It is important to be attentive to what they might need as their lack of communication can lead directly to depression. Changes in physical activity, social activity, sleep cycles and diet can also result in depression. One of the best ways to overcome this is to remain active with your loved one and try to keep their quality of life as it was before they had a stroke, even if they aren’t fully able to physically engage.

Contact An In-Home Care Professional

This is one of the best things that can ensure that your loved one is safe throughout the entire day. Assisting with things such as medication, meals, bathing/hygiene and keeping them active with social engagement, they are qualified to handle any situation that may come. With a family’s busy schedule, it can give you piece of mind that your loved one is safe.

After a stroke, helping your loved one return to their normal, daily life can be difficult. Through physical therapy, proper supervision and a stable daily routine, they will be on the fast track to recovery. With in-home care services, you can be sure that they are safe while you are at work or running errands, without worrying about any post-stroke symptoms such as seizure, falling or depression. Contact us today to see how we can help your family through a difficult time.

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