A stroke can cause significant physical disabilities. While your senior loved one may not regain his or her pre-stroke physical or psychological status, advancements in medicine and rehabilitation treatments can help. Here are six steps to take after your loved one has a stroke.
1. Promote Physical & Occupational Therapy
Physical and occupational therapy are essential after a stroke. Physical therapy helps senior stroke survivors regain muscle strength and balance in the legs and relieves an unsteady gait. Occupational therapy helps seniors with issues such as the inability to hold a utensil or toothbrush. Whether your loved one had a minor stroke or a devastating cerebral vascular accident, his or her doctor will likely recommend both physical and occupational therapy.
Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Barrie live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.
2. Consider Speech Therapy
If your parent’s stroke caused speech or swallowing issues, talk to his or her physician about speech therapy. A speech therapist will conduct a swallowing evaluation to determine which types of foods and liquids are safe for your loved one to consume. Certain foods and beverages that are too thin may pose a choking hazard, but a comprehensive swallowing evaluation will determine which ones your loved one can safely enjoy.
3. Monitor Visual Function
Vision impairment after a stroke may be temporary or permanent and may develop unilaterally or bilaterally. If your loved one experiences blurred or dim vision or starts seeing double, seek medical attention right away. While post-stroke vision impairment isn’t uncommon, it may indicate the onset of another stroke and blood vessel damage. Your loved one may need to see a retinal specialist to evaluate ocular function so an effective treatment plan can be quickly implemented.
Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
4. Update the Home So It’s Handicapped Accessible
Soon after the stroke, if your loved one has limited mobility, contact a contractor to learn how you can make your loved one’s home handicapped accessible. A handicapped-accessible home typically has wider doorways, grab rails next to the toilet and in the shower, and outdoor ramps. While these home improvements may be expensive, government programs may reduce some of the costs if your loved one qualifies.
5. Watch for New Symptoms
If your loved one develops new symptoms such as garbled speech, incoherence, severe headache, paralysis, or weakness, seek emergency medical attention. These symptoms may simply be residual effects of the initial stroke, or they may indicate the onset of new cerebral vascular issues.
6. Be Patient
Your loved one may require extensive care and feel frustrated at the loss of independence. While caring for a stroke survivor can be challenging, your loved one will need compassion and understanding, as this may speed healing, both physically and psychologically.
If your loved one becomes increasingly depressed or anxious after the stroke, talk to his or her physician about getting a referral to a mental health professional. When in a good state of mind, your loved one may be more likely to comply with the treatment program.
Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Barrie senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 647-970-3803.