November 02, 2022 4 min read
Caring for a stroke patient is never an easy journey, especially when they are someone you love dearly. But you do not need to feel like this is the end of the road. In fact, caregivers and family members can make a huge difference to the recovery of the stroke patient, especially by staying supportive and positive.
There are plenty of resources out there on how to care for stroke patients, as well as support groups and communities you can join so that you don’t feel so alone in this journey. Here are some tips you can adopt to learn how to better care for your loved ones:
1. Understand their condition
Stroke can manifest in a multitude of ways. Some patients may have trouble speaking or understanding speech, while others can still perfectly understand you. Some may have very severe motor impairments, while others experience only slight difficulties.
To better care and communicate with your loved one, speak with their doctor and therapists to understand their unique condition. Observe and monitor how your family member reacts, moves, and speaks, and what they can and cannot do. This way, you are better able to assess when they need help, and what type of assistance they might need.
2. Support their rehabilitation efforts
A major effect of stroke is impaired motor ability. Some stroke patients may start off mostly confined to their home care bed, and some can manage themselves in a wheelchair. Don’t wait until therapy days to work on rehabilitation. Encourage your family member to do their rehabilitative exercises at home, and help them by supporting them – both physically and emotionally. The key is to aim for regular movement and activity, as this will benefit the neurological rewiring of their brain and accelerate recovery.
As a leading supplier of eldercare assistive devices, we also believe having the right equipment can aid in a safer and more convenient rehabilitation process. For example, a wheelchair with detachable arms makes it easier for patients to transfer in and out of the wheelchair, onto another seating surface such as a sofa chair or bed. With a highly curated selection of different wheelchairs, there are a variety of factors you should look out for when choosing one for your loved ones.
3. Make the home a safe place
Due to their motor impairments, stroke patients may be prone to falling. Yet, you still want them to try standing up and walking when they can, as it is an important part of the rehabilitation process. Family members can help by reducing clutter in the home, creating clear paths between common areas. And in the event that the stroke patient does fall, make sure caregivers are trained on what to do – such as who to call for help and how to reposition the patient in a safe manner.
As they recover at home, it is important to make the home elder-friendly by retrofitting safety fixtures and accessories, such as wall-mounted grab bars and non-slip mats. High-risk areas include the bathroom which could be slippery, and areas where they need to move from a sitting to standing position (and vice versa). For that, a lift recliner for the elderly can be a handy feature to have at home, as it can tilt and assist the patient in rising to a standing position.
4. Refrain from ‘over-helping’
If your loved one is able to do certain tasks on their own, resist from being overly generous with your help. Many stroke patients still want to be independent and not be too reliant on others for assistance. Furthermore, letting them carry out daily tasks contributes to their recovery. As their caregiver, you can simply stay be their side as they attempt to do what they want to do. Only offer your help if they seem to be struggling or if they ask for it.
5. Monitor their progress
There will be days when you feel like your loved one is not getting any better, even after a long time. It helps to record a log of their progress, so you can look back and be certain that they are making headway!
Sometimes, stroke patients may seem to regress for a bit before improving again – this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for major worry. But if new or unusual behaviour surfaces, make sure to highlight this to their doctor or therapist for further observation.
6. Don’t neglect their emotional health
It’s not just their physical and mental abilities that take a hit. Stroke patients often also suffer emotionally, given the major changes that has happened in their life. In some people, stroke can have a direct effect on one’s emotions, causing sudden outbursts and involuntary emotional expressions.
Try speaking with their doctor or therapist to see how you can help your loved one manage their emotions, whether it is by medication or by simply being more understanding and learning ways to calm them down.
7. Manage risk of recurrent stroke
No one wishes to experience stroke a second time. While channelling attention to rehabilitation and recovery, don’t ignore the risk factors that may lead to a recurrent stroke. If your loved one has elevated levels of blood pressure or blood cholesterol, it is best to keep these in check. Communicate regularly with their doctor to see what else can be done to manage the risks of another stroke.
Stroke care requires a lot of patience and love – and there’s no denying it can get tough. As a bonus tip, we also highly encourage caregivers to schedule in breaks and me-time to care for yourself.
Assistive devices and safety fixtures around the home can also greatly alleviate the stress of carers. At The Golden Concepts, we hope to reduce the burden on caregivers and increase the comfort of seniors and patients through supplying eldercare equipment such as walking canes, fall prevention grab bars, and geriatric chairs in Singapore.For recommendations on suitable devices and assistive equipment for a loved one with stroke, don’t hesitate to speak to us and let us know your needs.
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