According to the National Stroke Association, within the five years following a first stroke, the chance of having another stroke can increase more than 40 percent. Therefore, stroke recovery is critically important in not only regaining physical, mental and emotional well-being, but also in reducing risk of yet another stroke. While rehabilitation needs vary depending on the severity of the stroke a person has suffered, here are some ways in which you can help a loved one with stroke recovery:
• Help your loved one adhere to doctors’ instructions regarding important aspects of recovery such as medication, rehabilitation, rest, and diet and lifestyle changes.
• If needed, help your loved one by inviting him or her to live with you or by arranging at-home care. From bathing to cooking to cleaning and more, your loved one will likely need assistance.
• Help coordinate any necessary changes to the home including installing ramps, motorized chairs, safety bars and other devices.
• Be patient and help foster independence. Your loved one may have challenges involving walking, talking, eating, dressing, lifting, balancing, remembering, learning and other functions. Offer ongoing encouragement, as stroke recovery can be a long process.
• Help create a support system of family, friends, and physical and mental health professionals for your loved one. Also consider helping your loved one participate in an organized support group. Social interaction and therapy can help prevent or treat depression, which is common after stroke.
• Remember that caregivers need support, too. Explore organizations that can be of assistance to you, and consider a support group for yourself as well.