9 Ways to Cope After a Family Member Has a Stroke

Strokes are one of those unhappy surprises that life dishes out unexpectedly.  For relatives of a stroke victim, it can leave them reeling with mixed feelings of fear, anxiety, shock and worry of another stroke. The changes that occur to a person who suffers from a stroke can be mild to severe, but they are life altering for everyone who is close to them.

If your aging parent has suffered from a stroke, you may find yourself in a sudden position as caregiver. This can be stressful and overwhelming; even frustrating at times. Most people are not trained to handle the side effects of a stroke, unless they are in a healthcare profession. Therefore, there is a lot of mystery about what to do, what to expect, how to handle certain things, as well as the emotional aspects. Brain functions change after a person has a stroke.

Brace yourself for the changes, but try to be compassionate. Here are 9 tips to help you and your loved one cope with the situation:

  • No matter how angry, frustrated or hopeless you feel, put a smile on your face in front of your loved one. They need you more than ever, and this one big thing can be the most difficult to do.
  • Encourage independence. Caregivers assume that the person recovering cannot do anything on their own, but by encouraging them to do things that they are capable of doing, you can help them recover.
  • Be patient. It will take longer to do normal things, so don’t give up and do them yourself simply due to impatience.
  • Suggest participation and activities. Don’t let your loved one turn into a bump on a log; encourage participation throughout the rehabilitation process. Bring them along on activities they once enjoyed doing.
  • Forge connections with healthcare providers. Getting help and support through the difficult stages of stroke recovery can help to preserve your sanity and your own wellbeing.
  • Don’t overlook your own needs. You don’t need to stop doing the things you enjoyed, such as exercising or getting adequate sleep and time to bathe.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. If you have friends through a church, rec center, work colleagues or other support system, it can help tremendously. They also have support groups for caregivers in some communities.
  • Take breaks. You do not need to devote every second to attending to the stroke patient, you need some time for you, too.
  • Hire a caregiver to help you; even if only a few days each week. Having extra time to yourself is essential. Our caring staff at CARE, Inc. is also licensed and trained to assist stroke patients, so they can offer the extra support you need.

Just remember, you will get through this. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, take each day at a time. It may be tough sometimes, but your relative needs you to be strong and supportive during this time of need.