Thousands of elderly Americans fall victim to a stroke every year, oftentimes creating caregiving scenarios that are game changers for families. Stroke is the leading cause of disabilities for those aged 65-and-over, and many seniors are forced to give up at least some of their freedom and independence after experiencing one.
If you’re currently serving as a caregiver for an aging in place family member who’s suffered a stroke, providing them with the vital support they need can help keep them safely at home. To make that happen, try these tips from the experts.
Stroke Causes and Symptoms
According to WebMD, a stroke occurs when a person’s brain is cut off from the blood supply it needs, usually because of a clogged artery or leaking or burst blood vessel. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die from oxygen deprivation, which quickly causes symptoms like:
- Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg on one side of the body
- Sudden dimness of vision, notably in one eye
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Unexplained dizziness or a sudden fall
- Abrupt loss of vision, speech, coordination, strength or the ability to understand speech
- Sudden loss of balance, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, hiccups, fever or trouble swallowing
Strokes can oftentimes happen with little or no warning. When you suspect that someone is experiencing a stroke, it’s best to immediately call 911 and note the time when their symptoms initially started.
Caring for a Stroke Victim
Before your loved one leaves the hospital, start planning their follow-up care and rehabilitation. Odds are that they will be at least partially disabled afterwards, which will limit their activity. Here are some ways to provide your senior with the nurturing care they’ll need:
Recovering from a stroke can be devastating to a loved one’s emotional state, and anxiety and depression are common. Spend a lot of time with your senior, while reassuring them they will receive the care they need. Try to get them to join a stroke-recovery support group, and attend all the doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions with your loved one that you can. If their depression becomes serious, speak to their doctor about medications that might help.
Help Coordinate Rehab
Your loved one may need physical and speech therapy to help regain use of paralyzed body parts, or to learn coping mechanisms for living with a permanent disability. Therapy will be available through a local hospital, nursing home or home care agency. The faster rehab sessions begin, the greater the odds that your senior will recover completely. Help them coordinate their care by looking into therapy options, what insurance covers and by providing transportation.
Make Their Home Safer
Look for ways to make your loved one’s home safer. If they’ll be using a walker or wheelchair, add a ramp to the front door and remove any clutter that’s blocking their pathways. In the bathroom, install handrails for the toilet and tub, and consider getting a shower seat. Make sure all stairs and steps are well illuminated and have handrails. If your loved one will need 24/7 care, consider hiring a professional caregiver from a licensed home care agency.
Future Stroke Prevention
Over 25% of stroke survivors are at risk for having another one within five years. But these are some preventive measures you can take to help ensure that doesn’t happen:
- For diabetics, by keeping their blood sugar under control
- Managing high blood pressure if that’s an issue
- Helping them lose weight if obesity is a concern
- Getting them to participate in 30 minutes of daily exercise
- Feeding them a healthier diet containing lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies
- Encouraging them to socialize with others
In-Home After-Care for Seniors Who’ve Had a Stroke
When your loved one has suffered a stroke, providing them with the after care they need can be hard, especially if you live far away. When you need a hand, call Cranberry Home Care. As a family owned and operated agency, our highly trained and carefully screened caregivers can provide your senior with the in-home care they deserve so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. Our family trusted services are fully licensed and insured, including around-the-clock care if that’s what your family needs.
While in the home, our aides can perform duties like light housework, eating assistance, cooking, personal hygiene, medication reminders, transportation and companionship; all of which can be flexibly combined in an affordable package. To learn more about Cranberry Home Care, or to schedule a FREE, in-home care consultation for a senior in Southeastern, MA, please visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now!