If you are caring for a stroke person, you may have many questions about whether your loved recovery and his or her needs. You may also worry about what care you may need to give or set up around him or her. But today, lets focus on your part : caregiving.
Caregiving can be a huge load to carry and very much impact the entire family. Because not only do caregivers continue to fulfill their role in the family, but they also have to care for the stroke patient and take on that person’s role as well. This situation drains most caregivers and is extremely overwhelming.
According to the World Health Organization, 15 million people suffer stroke worldwide each year. Of these, 5 million die and another 5 million are permanently disabled. http://www.strokecenter.org/patients/about-stroke/stroke-statistics/
In the U.S., each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks. This implies that more than 50 million people provide care for a loved one with a disability or illness. We estimate that 59% to 75% of caregivers are women, and most are caring for an older parent or a husband.
Despite the burden, many of these caregivers say that they appreciate life more while caring and feel positive about being able to help. However, caregivers are very often exhausted by their new role and often do not know what to do in this forced situation or where to get help.
So, if you are a caregiver yourself or you know a caregiver in need, here are some suggestions that can help balance the challenges met by most caregivers caring for stroke survivors.
Before leaving the hospital, always
- Take your time to assess the situation. Sit down and carefully analyze every parameter. Gather as much information as you can before making a decision.
- Coordinate well the needs of your patients, your doctor’s recommendations and the rehab plans, the medications’ management, your finances and/or insurance coverage. But most of all take your needs in consideration as well.
- Try to be as much realistic as possible with yourself, about what you can take on, what you may need help with and what you can achieve.
Once back home
Once your loved one leaves the hospital, the reality of the situation may begin to sink in for both of you. Here are some points you may want to consider as you take on your new caregiver role.
Ask an occupational therapist if you need to do anything to make the home safer for your loved one.
Be prepared for behavior or mood changes
The losses from stroke, whether temporary or permanent, can be devastating to the survivor. But on your caregiver side, it can be hard to see a loved one suffer. Feeling grief is a necessary step toward accepting life after stroke.
Be on the lookout for depression :
Stroke survivors are at risk for depression — from 30% to 50% are affected. Depression can interfere with your loved one’s recovery. Ask his or her doctor what to look for and seek treatment right away if you see signs of depression.
Taking Care of Yourself
The more you care for yourself, the better you can care for your loved one. Exhausting yourself will not allow you to provide your patient the loving help you want to give. It’s not selfish to take time for your needs. It is actually essential and beneficial for both of you.
Be patient with yourself
No one is a perfect caregiver . Remember you have never done this before and will have a lot to learn. Build your skills and boost your confidence by taking caregiver classes or workshops offered in your community.
Do not lose your life
Adjusting to being a caregiver is in some ways a shock. Suddenly, all of your time is devoted to meeting someone else’s needs, and you never think about yourself.
Do remember that you have a right to your own time and activities.
Find emotional support for yourself if required but most of get home help and care if you can afford. Engage a nursing service. Find a caregiver. Employ freelance nurses. Solutions of freelance Care Professionals exist. Use them. Make sure you do not stay alone in your care.
Seeking help from outside sources
Getting outside help can make all the difference in your ability to balance your life with your loved one’s needs. Respite care can give you time apart so that you can relax and rejuvenate.
On the internet you will find online care booking system sending nurses to your doorsteps, therapist, doctors or caregiver.
Family members or friends may be able to come in for a few hours a week but they have their lives too. So start early to search the best home nursing solutions to assist you.
Other types of assistance may include homemaker services, adult day care, Meals on Wheels, and transportation services.
Look into insurance coverage and assess your finances
Medisave, Medicare and/or health insurance depending on the country you live in, will cover most of the hospitalization and rehabilitation expenses. However, there may be restrictions on which facilities and providers are covered. So be sure to find out exactly what is covered and what out-of-pocket payments may be needed. Also remember that as your loved one gains abilities or is no longer progressing, coverage may change or stop.
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