Visiting Angels, Punta Gorda Blog

After a Stroke: The Road to Recovery

Although often associated with the elderly, a stroke can happen to anyone at any time. A stroke is essentially a disruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain, depriving the brain tissue of nutrients and oxygen. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die, causing the person to lose abilities controlled by that area of the brain. Most people associate a stroke with the loss of use of one side of their body, slurred speech, and memory impairment. However, the outcome of a stroke depends on the severity of the stroke, where it occurred in the brain, and how much the brain is damaged as a result of the loss of blood supply.

Senior lifting weights with physical therapistMay is National Stroke Awareness Month, a month dedicated to educating Americans about the facts and symptoms of a stroke, as well as stroke prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of experiencing a stroke increases with age. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans and the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. Approximately one out of four strokes are repeated strokes, meaning that the person has had at least one stroke in the past.

If your aging loved one has had a stroke, you already know that the road to recovery is difficult. Depending on the severity, your loved one could face a long journey rehabilitating in a short-term care facility. They may need to relearn how to walk, talk, write, or eat. They may never regain full use of an arm or leg. Stroke victims can go from healthy and independent to completely dependent on someone else in a matter of minutes. The future can look grim, especially in those first few hours or days after a person suffers a severe stroke. So, what do you do when a loved one suffers a stroke? How can you help and what options are available to you? Below are a few ways you can help your loved one recover and support them as they walk the road to recovery.

Practice Active Listening

When visiting your loved one, be present with them and practice active listening. Active listening is simply putting aside all other distractions, including your own formulating response, so that you can really hear what the other person is saying. Your loved one most likely is worried about their future and anxious about the unknown journey ahead. Address those concerns and reassure them that you’ll figure it out together.

Be Their Advocate

After a stroke, it’s possible that your loved one will have speech deficits along with mobility deficits. Upon discharge from the hospital, they may have to rehabilitate in a health care setting where 24/7 nursing care is available. It can be scary to be in an unfamiliar environment, especially when you aren’t able to communicate effectively or not have a voice. Support your loved one by being their advocate. Visit them frequently and ensure that they are receiving the care they need. Communicate with the care staff your loved one’s preferences, from food to favorite television shows, so that when you’re not there, they receive they food they like and can watch the shows they like during down time. By stepping up to ask questions, communicate preferences, and make requests, you’re giving your loved one the freedom to relax and rest during down time.

Cheer Them On

Your loved one is going to need a lot of support and encouragement as they work to regain strength, mobility, and/or speech. Although their therapy and care team will provide continuous encouragement, the best cheering they will receive will be from you. Make an effort to attend therapy sessions with them from time to time, so that you can give firsthand praise as they reach their goals. After therapy, do something fun together, such as taking them for a wheelchair ride outdoors or playing their favorite game. Coordinate care packages or encouraging notes from family and friends. Write inspirational messages on sticky notes and post them in their room. Remind them that they can do this.

Find a Support Group

You are going to need support and encouragement too. Look for a family stroke support group that you can join. Support groups are excellent resources to learn about how others have coped or are currently coping. Facilitators often coordinate educational seminars so you can learn ways to adapt your loved one’s home or lifestyle. Best of all, it’s nice to have a group of people walking a similar journey where you can express feelings of frustration, sadness, and even guilt.

When a loved one suffers a stroke, the impact reaches beyond the individual. Fortunately, Visiting Angels Punta Gorda is here for you and your loved one. We recognize that the follow-up care your loved one receives in the hospital, and afterwards, plays a big role in preventing future strokes. Our Angel companions can help your loved one with a variety of home care needs, especially after they’ve suffered a stroke. Your loved one may need assistance with bathing, toileting, or dressing. They might need escorted to and from doctor appointments or outpatient therapy when you’re not available. They could even benefit from a friendly face as they recover, while you run errands or take a well-deserved nap. Our ability to provide a wide range of in-home care services for our elderly or disabled clients makes us stand out from other home care agencies in the area. Getting started is as easy as contacting our office today by calling 941-347-8288 Punta Gorda or 239-226-1620 Cape Coral.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.