Helping a Loved One After They’ve Had a Stroke

Helping a Loved One After They’ve Had a Stroke

A stroke can affect your loved one’s physical, mental, and emotional health, impacting relationships, finances, and independence. As a friend, family member, or caregiver, you play a critical role in helping your loved one recover and adjust to their new situation.

Board-certified neurologist Dr. Andrew Lerman and our team here at Gables Neurology in Miami, Florida, specialize in diagnosing and treating neurological conditions, including strokes.

We utilize the most advanced technology, medications, and therapies to ensure optimal stroke recovery. However, nothing replaces the supportive network family, friends, and other loved ones can create for stroke survivors.

Here are some tips from our Gables team about supporting a stroke survivor and taking care of yourself in the process.

1. Participate in stroke rehabilitation

Stroke rehabilitation is a process that helps stroke survivors regain their abilities and skills. It’s customized to fit their needs and may involve physical, occupational, speech, or psychological therapy.

Attending at least a few therapy sessions with your loved one provides knowledge on assisting them at home as you encourage them to practice their exercises and celebrate their progress.

It’s also important to remember that stroke recovery is a long-term process. By remaining in touch with your loved one’s rehab team, you’ll gain insight regarding realistic goals and what to expect in the weeks ahead.

2. Familiarize yourself with their medications

Stroke survivors may need to take several medications to prevent another stroke, control their blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar, or manage other conditions. You can help by keeping track of their prescriptions, dosages, schedules, refills, and adjustments along the way.

3. Assess the fall risk at home

Depending on the severity of the stroke, your loved one may have difficulty with mobility, balance, vision, or coordination. Falls are a definite risk factor following a stroke and can lead to significant, even life-threatening injuries.

You can make their home safer and more comfortable by installing grab bars, ramps, handrails, or other devices. Removing clutter, cords, rugs, or furniture that could cause tripping is also necessary.

Our stroke recovery team can arrange a home assessment, which offers invaluable tips for making your loved one’s home environment as safe as possible. We can also help you assess outdoor and public spaces for fall risks. 

4. Help rebuild their independence

A stroke can make even simple tasks like getting dressed, planning a meal, or sorting the daily mail difficult. Your loved one may feel understandably depressed, angry, and frustrated as they become dependent on others to accomplish these tasks.

Listening to their feelings, validating their emotions, and respectfully acknowledging their limitations are invaluable. However, one of our goals is to help your loved one regain a level of independence during recovery. It’s essential you find the balance between caring for their needs and allowing them to progress through stroke recovery.

Always check with our team for guidance, but offering your loved one a choice for meals, attire, and other daily activities can help restore confidence. We also encourage using assistive devices when suggested for walking, buttoning a shirt, and other household tasks. 

5. Build your own support network

Caring for a stroke survivor can be stressful and exhausting. Seek assistance from family members, friends, neighbors, or community resources. Consider joining a support group for caregivers of stroke survivors.

Protect your health by eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and finding time to relax and enjoy your hobbies. Consider seeking professional help if you feel overwhelmed or depressed.

6. Stay connected

Ensure your loved one continues to follow up with Dr. Lerman and the Gables Neurology team for office visits, lab studies, and therapy sessions as directed. These visits are critical in ensuring stroke survivors enjoy the best possible treatment outcome.

For treatment for your loved one after their stroke and support for you as you navigate this journey with them, schedule a visit at Gables Neurology today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.

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