When someone goes through a stroke, healing takes time. Offering home care assistance and being a caregiver is not always easy. It can actually feel overwhelming. However, it is important to understand the healing process in order to really help the loved one recover. After a stroke, there may not only be physical challenges, but mental and emotional challenges as well.
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When an elderly loved one suffers from a stroke, often times they will not be their normal selves afterward. They will not heal overnight and it can take years for them to even feel like they did prior to the stroke. The caretaker should have a positive attitude and flood the stroke victim with emotional support in an environment that has healing properties both mentally and physically.
One of the most valuable contributions you can make to a person healing from a stroke is to provide emotional support. This support can bring loved ones together, even at the most stressful times. Caregivers should remember to take time to care for themselves as well. Asking for help from other family members is a great way to get some time alone and distribute the responsibilities a bit.
After a stroke, it is important to stimulate the brain in ways that it might not have been stimulated before. Brain fitness programs exist as well as apps that can be downloaded on tablets. These help to sharpen the mind, critical thinking, and memory. Playing such games may even lower the risk of dementia. Playing board games with loved ones is another great way to not only sharpen the mind, and rehabilitate communication skills; it brings the family together to have a good time while lifting everybody's spirits.
Aerobic exercise and muscle training is quite important to strengthen the body during the healing process. If the side affected by the stroke is too weak for physical activity, exercising the non-affected side cross-educates the weak side. The weak side receives new connections to the brain, in turn becoming stronger and familiar with the movements that the “good” side is performing. Physiotherapy is often part of the treatment process, and it’s important to comply with prescribed exercise routines that will aid recovery.
After a stroke, a person may be prescribed medications such as those to control high blood pressure, or even blood thinners to prevent the formation of clots that could potentially travel to the brain and cause another stroke. In any case, it is important to take medications as prescribed, and to notify your physician of any unexpected side effects. Remember that some medications will also interact negatively with other medications. Therefore, it is important to inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking including herbal medications and over the counter drugs.
Caring for a loved one that has had a stroke is not an easy feat for any one person. Having a support system made up of family and friends is quite important. A caregiver should not feel ashamed if they call for the help of a home care agency for assistance and support, as employees of a good senior care agency are trained to be able to provide the help that is needed when caregivers just cannot do it all. Being well yourself is an essential part of being the best caregiver possible, as a worn out family caregiver cannot provide the attention and daily support that is needed by a stroke victim.