After a senior loved one experiences a stroke, it’s not uncommon for well-meaning family members to step in and offer support and in-home care. Although a helping hand is likely appreciated, there are a few things stroke survivors often want loved ones to know about the recovery process.
Looking better does not mean feeling better
Therapy can help a stroke survivor make impressive recoveries in physical function, but a quick physical recovery doesn’t mean your loved one is ready to return to the same activities. Stroke may reduce a person’s processing speed, so survivors need to tackle tasks at a slower, more careful pace. Respect the fact that a quick physical recovery doesn’t mean a quick mental recovery.
Loss of communication is not loss of intellect
Stroke survivors may talk differently than before. They might have trouble finding words, produce sentences that make no sense, or lose the ability to speak in sentences. However, that doesn’t mean a stroke survivor has lost the ability to think. Help your loved one find other ways to communicate and be patient when he or she is searching for words.
Doing with is better than doing for
It can be tempting to jump in and help a survivor with tasks of daily living, like dressing, cleaning, and cooking. However, chances are your loved one is struggling to improve his or her independence, and your good intentions can get in the way of stretching the limits of what he or she can do. It’s okay to keep a watchful eye out and let your loved one know you’re there to help, but let him or her push the boundaries of what they can accomplish.
A little planning goes a long way
We all use cognitive aids: lists, sticky notes, and smartphone apps that remind us of our tasks. With careful, proactive planning, caregivers can put the same aids in place for a stroke survivor. Activities like dressing, cleaning, and cooking can be broken down into simple steps, improving your loved one’s ability to think through these tasks and get them done.
Caring for a older adult loved one after a stroke is a big task, and not one you have to do alone. As a trusted provider of stroke care in Lincoln, we provide the support seniors need for an efficient recovery while encouraging independence and dignity. To learn more, call (402) 261-5158 and speak with a Care Manager.