Stroke Rehabilitation - Concerns of the Caregiver
Taking care of a loved one
who has had a
stroke can be difficult for many reasons. You may be
afraid that your loved one will have another stroke or will not be able to
accept or overcome disabilities. You may worry that you are not prepared to
care for someone who has just had a stroke. Or you may have your own health
concerns that make it hard for you to care for another person. You may
also become depressed over losing the lifestyle that you previously enjoyed
with your loved one. And you may worry about the costs of
rehabilitation (rehab) and a loss of income.
Before your loved one returns home, the
rehab team will train you or other family members to
help with therapy. You may learn to help your loved one get up from a fall, get
dressed, get to the bathroom, eat, and do other activities. If you have your
own health concerns that prevent you from being able to help, you may need
in-home help, or your loved one may need to go to a nursing home or
assisted-living facility. But even if you can't provide physical help, your
love and support are still key to your loved one's recovery.
are ways that you can help with your loved one's recovery:
- Give support and encouragement for
taking part in the rehab program.
- Visit and talk with your loved
one often. Encourage your loved one to do activities, such as playing
a game with you. Keep in touch with your loved one's friends
as much as you can, and encourage them to visit.
- Participate in
educational programs and attend rehab sessions as much as
- Help your loved one learn and practice new
- Find out what your loved one can do independently or needs
help with. Avoid doing things for your loved one that he or she is able to do
You will also need to take care of your own
- Eat well, get enough rest, and take time to do
things that you enjoy. Get out of the house as much as possible.
- Make sure that you do not ignore your own health while you are
caring for your loved one. Do not try to do everything yourself. Keep up with
your own doctor visits and make sure to take your own medicines regularly. Ask
other family members to help. Find out if you qualify for adult day care or for
home health care visits to help with rehab.
- Locate a support group
to attend. You can find them through local chapters of the American Stroke
Association (a division of the American Heart Association) or the National
Stroke Association. Also, check with the rehab team for ideas and help. They
may be able to offer advice about insurance coverage as
- Schedule time for yourself. Get out of the house and do
things that you enjoy, run errands, or go shopping.
For more information on caregiving, see the topic
- Stroke: Should I Move My Loved One Into Long-Term Care?