Pages

Caregivers for stoke survivors


Tips and info for stroke caregivers

Almost one-third of the U.S. population are informal caregivers and collectively provide about 1.2 billion hours of unpaid work weekly, the equivalent of about 30.5 million full-time care aides. Of those, there are over 2.2 million stoke caregivers in the U.S. So you are not alone.

General tips for caregivers:
  • Help the individual become involved outside the home and in leisure activities.
  • Encourage as much independence as possible.
  • Let the survivor make the decisions.
Be mindful of you too.

The rewards of caregiving include an improved appreciation of life, feeling needed or appreciated, and the development of a more positive outlook. But caregiving can also be a tremendous burden. It can result in psychological distress, decreased social contact and activity, depression, stress, and an overall decrease in quality of life. If you see any of these things happening to you, try these tips:
  • Seek out caregiver support groups.
  • Do not try to do caregiving 24 hours a day. Take a break.
  • Be sure to take care of you. Eat, take your medications, exercise, rest, go shopping, have some fun.
  • Ask for help from family, friends, or community organizations.
  • Remember, you are a caregiver, not a slave.
  • Try to keep a positive attitude. This is an important coping strategy.
Tips for dealing with people with aphasia:
  • Maintain a natural conversational manner appropriate for an adult. If needed, you can simplify your speech by using short, uncomplicated sentences; but don't talk "down" to them. Do not use "baby talk."
  • Don't raise your voice; they are not hard of hearing.
  • Minimize distractions and background noise, such as a blaring radio, whenever possible.
  • Be patient. Repeat the content words or write them down as needed.
  • Include the person in conversations and encourage any type of communication, whether it is speech, gesture, pointing, or drawing.
  • Avoid correcting the individual's speech, unless they ask for help.
  • Do not finish the person's sentence or train of thought for them, unless asked.
  • Allow the person plenty of time to talk.
  • Don't pretend you understood what was said if you did not.
  • A good video of "aphasia etiquette" comes from the Stroke Association of Great Britain.
A personal talk given by my husband about caregiving.

Ten Guidelines for Interacting with a Stroke Survivor:


Publications, handbooks, and newsletters:
Associations and websites:
  • Careliving Community is a social network designed exclusively for caregivers and family members of stroke survivors.
  • See the Internet Stroke Center page for general info for caregivers.
  • An excellent page comes from the American Stroke Association.
  • See the Stroke Family Caregiving for African-Americans, which contains useful information for all caregivers.
  • CaringBridge provides free websites to caregivers to easily post updates and progress for the loved one. This reduces the time and emotional energy spent on repeated phone calls and emails and keeps everyone informed with the same, accurate information.
  • The list of Caregiver Rights might help you re-focus some time and energy on caring for yourself and let you know that it's not unusual to feel under-appreciated, frustrated, left out and even angry.
  • AARP has many tools and resources about caregiving .
General and local caregiving sites: