Stroke Recovery: How to Care for an Elderly Relative

Stroke Recovery: How to Care for an Elderly Relative

October 1, 2021

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Providing care for someone you love or care about is a rewarding act, but it can be incredibly daunting too. This is especially true if they have just experienced a stroke. Everyone’s recovery process is different, and you probably have some concerns about how you can provide the best care for your loved one. As a caregiver, you need to balance your priorities so that you can offer your loved ones the care they deserve while taking care of your own needs too. Here are a few tips to help you care for a stroke survivor.

Remove Hazards at Home

Keeping the home hazard-free is a fundamental step in caring for an elderly person recovering from a stroke. In the United States, the number one cause of injury for senior citizens is trips and falls. As a person gets older, their level of mobility deteriorates, and their spatial awareness gets worse. Going through the house and removing potential hazards can keep your loved one safe. You might also want to start using a GPS tracker for elderly people in case they do fall and need urgent assistance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created an easy-to-follow Home Fall Prevention Checklist. Using this checklist and making small changes can help keep your elderly relative safe from harm.

Establish a Daily Routine

Coping with a stroke can feel easier if your loved one establishes a daily routine. Take note of the activities of daily life your elderly relative can perform autonomously, the skills they need to relearn, and the tasks they need help with. Create a list of small actions they need to do to relearn certain functions and schedule in short but frequent time slots for them to practice.

Stroke Recovery: How to Care for an Elderly Relative

Dysphagia after a Stroke

Dysphagia is a medical name for swallowing difficulties, and it is common for stroke survivors to experience this condition to a certain degree. When not managed properly, it can lead to pneumonia, poor nutrition, and dehydration. If your loved one has some form of dysphagia, a speech and language therapist (SLT) can put together a treatment plan to help them cope with the condition.

In addition to the plan, the SLT can make dietary recommendations to ensure your loved one gets a balanced diet. This could include meal preparation techniques, the easiest foods to swallow, meal replacement packets, and food thickeners. SimplyThick is a thickening gel that can be added to hot and cold liquids. It is easy to mix into fluids and helps make them more palatable.

Look Out for Signs of Depression

After someone has had a stroke, they may experience bouts of depression. With 30 to 50 per cent of stroke survivors experiencing some level of depression post-stroke, it is important to be aware that this could happen to your loved one. It is tough to see a loved one go through this illness, and going through depression can also hinder their recovery and rehabilitation. If you think your relative is showing signs of depression, consult their doctor and encourage them to speak with a professional.

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