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A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident or CVA, occurs when blood flow to a section of the brain is interrupted, either by a blockage of a blood vessel or by the rupture of a blood vessel. Strokes may be more common than you realize. According to US Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 800,000 people in the United States or one person every 40 seconds experiences a stroke each year. How much a person can expect to recover after a stroke depends on several factors, including the type of stroke the amount of brain tissue damaged and the area of the brain affected.
Stay positive! At Aging in Place our caregivers have helped people who have made great strides in recovery.
Caring for a loved one at home after he or she has suffered a stroke can be a challenge. Aging in Place Home Care, located in the East Bay Area of San Francisco, can help. We provide trained and compassionate caregivers to assess your loved one’s needs and work to help him or her regain the highest possible level of functioning.
How Can a Caregiver at Aging in Place Home Care Help My Loved One after a Stroke?
If your loved one has returned home following a stroke, there are many ways our caregivers can help him or her.
- Facilitate strong communication with loved ones and other caregivers
A person who has been through a stroke may have issues with memory and communication. Our caregivers are trained to communicate clearly about your loved one’s condition and to make you aware of any significant happenings that occur in their presence. Our caregivers also keep a close eye out for signs of depression, a condition which frequently affects people after a stroke.
- Work to prevent another stroke
Caregivers can encourage your loved one to take medications as prescribed, to eat a healthy diet, and to engage in exercise. The better your loved one’s overall health, the less chance that he or she will fall prey to another cerebrovascular accident.
- Practice skills learned in rehabilitation
Many people who have had strokes receive physical, occupational or speech therapy. These therapists may recommend exercises for your loved one to practice several times a day. Our caregivers can remind your loved one about these exercises and help your loved one perform them.
- Assist with problem-solving
Strokes can result in cognitive challenges, making it difficult for people to think through problems or plan complex activities. Are caregivers are trained to help your loved one identify an issue and arrive at potential solutions. We can also cure your loved one during difficult or multi-step tasks.
- Provide personal care
A stroke may leave your loved one with serious physical issues such as paralysis. Our caregivers can help with tasks such as bathing, dressing and eating.
- Complete homemaking tasks
The caregivers we provide can also help with household chores such as dusting, vacuuming, preparing a meal or cleaning up after a meal.
- Support efforts to communicate.
Our caregivers will get to know your loved one and become aware of any communication issues, such as difficulty speaking or an inability to understand what is said. We will work to find ways to help your loved one to communicate, and we will include him or her in conversations.
- Remain Flexible
We know that, with assistance from rehabilitation experts, your loved one’s condition may improve for months, or even years, following a stroke. We will encourage your loved one to rely more upon him or herself as he or she is able to do so.
We recommend reviewing the online publication, Recovering after a Stroke: A Patient and Family Guide distributed by the US Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality. This handbook describes several ways that caregivers can help a person who has experienced a stroke.
“Stay positive! At Aging in Place our caregivers have helped people who have made great strides in recovery.”
What Are the Different Types of Strokes?
According to the CDC, there are three different kinds of strokes.
Ischemic. Ischemic strokes are the most common type of strokes. They occur when the arteries leading to the brain are blocked by blood clots or by fatty deposits called plaques. Treatment for this type of stroke may include medications to dissolve clots and surgery to clear the arteries.
Hemorrhagic. Hemorrhagic STROKEs occur when blood leaks from a weakened vessel into the brain. This type of stroke typically results in the worst and most pervasive damage. Hemorrhagic STROKEs are treated with medications and surgery to control the bleeding.
Transient Ischemic Attack. Transient Ischemic Attacks, or TIAs, occur when blood flow to the brain is interrupted briefly. Because normal function usually returns without medical intervention, people may put off seeking help after a TIA. This, though, is a mistake. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that one-third of people who do not receive treatment after a TIA will suffer major STROKEs within the next year.
What Symptoms Do People Experience after a Stroke?
According to the National Stroke Association, strokes can cause many physical, cognitive and emotional issues.
Physical issues may include:
- dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing
- foot drop which can lead to falls
- decrease in stamina, fatigue
- muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
- problems with bladder or bowel control
- muscle spasms in arms and legs
- pain or discomfort
- changes in eyesight
Some common cognitive symptoms are:
- trouble speaking
- trouble understanding the speech of others
- short or long term memory loss
- vascular dementia, or problems with reasoning, judgment or planning
Emotionally, people who have had strokes may experience:
- pseudobulbar affect or PBA
Pseudobulbar affect refers to uncontrollable sobbing or laughing that does not accurately reflect a person’s emotions. Your loved one may be happy, for instance, but still burst into tears.
Being a caregiver to a loved one who has had a stroke can be stressful. The caregivers at Aging in Place Home Care can help meet your loved one’s physical, cognitive and emotional needs. Don’t try to do everything by yourself. If you are a caregiver for a family member who lives in the East Bay area of San Francisco, let us ease your burdens by providing your loved one with skilled and compassionate assistance.
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