The third-leading cause of death in the US, having a stroke is a devastating experience. Above 795,000 people have a stroke in the United States each year. Often, a major stroke leaves people paralyzed. In fact, stroke is the leading cause of disability. However, you shouldn’t lose all hope if a loved one is left paralyzed following a stroke. As a caregiver though, you will have a lot on your plate. In this regard, here are 6 factors that you should always keep in mind as a caregiver.
1 – Recovery May Or May Not Take Time
Sometimes stroke recovery happens within a handful of months. However, for some people it takes as long as a year or two. In some cases, doctors rely purely on the limited research available on stroke induced paralysis and tell you that there is no chance of recovery. However, most people who have had a mild stroke are able to regain movement. Therefore, do not stop trying.
2 – Be Careful About Falls
It is not uncommon for stroke patients to lose balance and fall. However, these falls must not be ignored. If a fall results in bruising, bleeding or intense pain, take the stroke survivor in question to the hospital immediately. If the falls are minor but happen more than twice within six months’ time, the patient must be taken to a physician.
3 – Don’t forget To Note Progress
When you are taking care of a stroke patient, be sure to notice his or her progress. You should note down this progress as well to ensure that you know how the rehabilitation therapy is working for the particular patient. Survivors make gains weekly as per the Functional Independence Measure Score. This score measurement includes mobility and communication skills.
4 – Lookout For Changes In Emotional Wellbeing
Your focus as a caregiver shouldn’t just be on the physical health of your loved one. In fact, you should also note the behavior and attitude of the patient. Is the patient feeling more emotional lately? Are you noticing signs of depression? Post-stroke depression is quite common. It affects up to 50% of the people who have had a stroke. In case of such emotional changes, consult your healthcare provider to develop an action plan.
5 – Reduce The Risk Of Another Stroke
After the first stroke, it is not unlikely for patients to experience another blow. Therefore, try your level best to reduce the risks. This can be done by taking care of the patient’s eating routine. Make sure the patient’s diet is healthy, he or she gets ample exercise or physiotherapy, takes medications, and schedule visits with healthcare providers as well.
6 – Take Care Of Yourself As Well
When a loved one has a stroke, it can take a toll on your emotional health as well. Understand that you also need to care of yourself. Keeping this in mind, make sure you eat well, get enough rest, and enjoy some off days as well. You don’t want to burn yourself out and get sick as well. Remember to not overburden yourself.