Caregivers provide essential long-term support for stroke survivors’ recovery and rehabilitation. They face the challenge of balancing caregiving with personal time, family, work, and other commitments. Over 53 million Americans are caregivers and are as diverse as those they care for daily. They are spouses, parents, siblings, partners, adult children, grandchildren, and family friends.
Caregivers Need Care, Too
Discharge from the hospital or an inpatient rehabilitation facility after surviving a stroke can be a time of both relief and crisis for family caregivers. You often don’t feel prepared to assume the 24/7 responsibility of caring for your loved ones.
Behind the scenes of the recovery and rehabilitation process, the caregiver suffers too. Suddenly, you have to take over the tasks that your loved one can no longer do and ensure that they get the care and support they need.
Over time, demands and responsibilities get heavier on your shoulders and start taking a toll on you too. As a result, your family and social life suffer, personal interests and hobbies take a back seat, and sometimes you cut back on working or quit your job altogether.
It’s often tough for caregivers to ask for help due to many reasons:
- Feeling guilty that you cannot take care of everything
- Feeling worried that you impose on others by asking for help
- Being uncomfortable asking for help
- Being unaware that there are useful resources that can help
- Having little time to research alternatives
- No money to pay for professional caregiving services
- Cultural concerns
What Do Caregivers of Stroke Survivors Need?
All caregivers need physical and emotional support. The physical help you need to care for your loved one includes daily tasks, preparing meals, running errands, decision-making, and performing chores. You also require emotional support to handle the stress of caring for a stroke survivor.
Different people need different things or help. Below are some ways to care for the caregiver:
- Give Them a Break: Caregiving is stressful and time-consuming, so giving a caregiver a break is always appreciated, even though you sometimes may have to offer several times before it’s accepted. It could be anything from bringing over lunch and eating with them to providing them a day off and assuming their responsibilities or hiring respite care.
- Offer Them a Treat: Everybody has something they relish occasionally doing, so enabling those activities to happen for a caregiver can make a significant difference in their morale and wellbeing. Some suggestions include sharing a list of movies to watch, taking them to the local farmers market, or helping them tend to their garden.
- Help Them Remain Socially Connected: Help them plan and keep social appointments with family and friends. Social connections help caregivers feel less isolated and prevent burnout.
- Support Groups: These groups help you to realize that you are not alone as a caregiver. You find help, hope, solace, and support from others who are going through similar experiences. Stroke support groups can nurture your ability to be aware and self-compassionate.
Stroke Support Association (SSA) offers weekly separate stroke support groups for caregivers and survivors on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 11:30 am in Long Beach. During the pandemic, in place of in-person meetings, SSA offers 50-minute weekly web conferencing meetings via Zoom every Tuesday from 10:00 am to 10:50 am (for survivors) and from 11:00 to 11:50 am for caregivers.
To be added to the Zoom invitation list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and email address.
Categorized in: Caregivers