Watching your elder loved one go through a stroke and the associated aftermath can leave one feeling overwhelmed and more than a little heartbroken. Depending on the ramifications for your parent, they may have been left with physical impairments, speech impairments, mental and behavioral changes, or even vision loss. You may find yourself taking on more of the day-to-day tasks of living and your parent may require increasing amounts of transportation to rehabilitative specialists.
Depending on tableside manner, it may or may not feel easy to approach your parent’s health care team with questions about their health, but do it anyway. If they are quick to respond and short in their answers, ask if they have staff that is available to address more of your concerns. The more you know about your parent’ s condition, the part of the brain that was affected, and what to expect from the recovery process, the sooner you can put the caregiving team in place that you may require. In addition to obtaining information from their health care team and rehabilitation specialists, the Stroke Family Warmline is available to answer questions: 1-888-4-STROKE.
A stroke occurs when arteries that supply the brain with oxygen become blocked due to a blood clot or rupture. The effects vary according to the area of the brain affected. They can lead to paralysis, speech problems, vision problems, behavioral changes and memory loss. The first year following a stroke sees the greatest recovery on your parent’s part. Rehabilitation plays a huge part in this healing process and can also help them learn how to do things a little different that still allows them to live as independently as possible.
The Caregiving Team
You will undoubtedly need to update your parent’s caregiving plan. This will include adding tasks that they can no longer do for themselves and assigning the appropriate people to these tasks. This is not a one-man job. Your elder parent may be requiring rehabilitation as well as frequent care. If your team can no longer fill in all the blanks, consider obtaining the services of an elder care provider. These professionals can assist with the daily activities of living as well as prepare healthy meals and provide transportation.
Don’t forget to care for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the primary family caregiving role, particularly when something of this magnitude occurs, but try and remember to make time for yourself. Stress can lead to debilitating physical and mental disorders that are easier to prevent than to cure. Try and take at least one day off to do the things you love. There are support groups available for both you and your parent that provide a wealth of information as well as the potential makings of a few good friends.