According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States. Of those cases, 130,000 are fatal. This leaves 665,000 people to recover from strokes every year. If a loved one is healing from a stroke, there are plenty of steps you can take to assist them on their road to recovery.
Assist with Getting to Therapy and Doing Exercises
Depending on what area of the brain was affected by the stroke, your loved one may need therapy to strengthen motor skills, relearn language or perform everyday living tasks. Those who practice at home in conjunction with therapy appointments tend to recover faster, so offer to help. Doing a few short sessions throughout the day can be a big boost while not tiring them out completely.
Help Them to Understand Their Medications
Many strokes happen without warning and can occur much younger than the person may expect. Being blindsided by health issues can be a confusing and scary time, especially for those who have never needed to take daily maintenance medicine before. You can help by drawing up a schedule and putting their pills into a partitioned box for them. An alarm clock or wristwatch can also help them remember to take their pills.
Prepare Nutritious Meals
The American Stroke Association advises a diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats and low fat for optimal stroke recovery. If your loved one is not used to cooking with whole ingredients and creating a varied and balanced diet, you can help. Whether you prepare the meals yourself or work together on it, a nutritious diet is integral to recovering and getting back to normal daily living.
Guard Against Depression
Post-stroke depression can hinder your loved one’s ability to recovery. Feelings of anger, frustration, self-hatred and even suicidal ideation can leave a stroke survivor emotionally worn out and lacking in motivation to get better. You can help by keeping his or her spirits up. If possible, do activities that they enjoyed before the stroke. Encourage your loved one to talk about their feelings. If negative emotions are taking hold, don’t hesitate to suggest seeing a counselor who is well-versed in stroke recovery. The National Institutes of Health states that post-stroke depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated, which can be a serious roadblock to recovery.
Take Care of Yourself
Caregivers will often run themselves ragged while taking care of a loved one, often to the point of their own health suffering. Carve out time in your schedule to get exercise, eat well and get enough sleep. If you find your cannot handle everything on your own, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Visiting caregivers, day care or other options are available, depending on your location.
Helping a loved one to heal after a stroke can be a daunting task. However, you can use these tips to keep them on the road to recovery and avoid future strokes.