What is a stroke family caregiver?
People who provide help for stroke survivors are often called caregivers. Everyone involved in helping a stroke survivor is a caregiver — the spouse, family members and friends. Often one person, generally a spouse, will provide most of the care.
It’s important that caregivers and stroke survivors strive to be “care partners” in their efforts. It’s often a challenge for both to adjust to their changed roles. The adjustment may be easier if the caregiver and stroke survivor share in decision-making as much as possible and try to share their feelings honestly.
What should a caregiver do?
There is no one “job description” that explains what all caregivers do. Each caregiver’s responsibilities vary according to the unique needs of the stroke survivor.
This may require several adjustments. Role changes and new skills may need to be learned. Common responsibilities of caregiving include:
- Providing physical help with personal care and transportation.
- Managing financial, legal and business affairs.
- Monitoring behavior to ensure safety.
- Managing housework and meal preparation.
- Coordinating healthcare and monitoring medications.
- Helping the survivor maintain learned rehab skills and work to improve them.
- Providing emotional support for the stroke survivor and family members.
- Encouraging the stroke survivor to be as independent as possible.
Is there assistance for caregivers?
Many people find caring for another person very rewarding. But there are times when a stroke survivor’s needs are too much for any one person. Sometimes a caregiver just needs a break. The following community resources may be helpful:
- Adult day care — professional supervision of adults in a social setting during the day.
- Adult foster homes — supervised care in approved (licensed) private homes.
- Meal programs (Meals on Wheels) — a federally sponsored nutrition program.
- Home health aide service — in-home personal care assistance.
- Homemaker assistance — supervised, trained personnel who help with household duties.
- Respite care — people come into the home for a limited time to give caregivers a break. Some nursing homes will also provide short-term respite care.
What are the warning signs of stroke?
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headaches with no known cause
Learn to recognize a stroke, because time lost is brain lost.
Today there are treatments that can reduce the risk of damage from the most common type of stroke, but only if you get help quickly - within 3 hours of your first symptoms.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience these warning signs!
Content courtesy of: American Heart Association