If a loved one has recently suffered from a stroke, or you are worried that one day they might, learning how to spot the signs and symptoms of a stroke and how you can help them recover can give you peace of mind while also preparing you for the worst. Caring for a stroke survivor isn’t easy – there are many challenges that both you and the stroke survivor will have to face, but there is also a lot of help and resources out there that can support everyone involved.
Here are the best ways to help stroke survivors recover.
1. Know the Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke
You may have heard this before, but you will want to act FAST when there are potential signs of a stroke. FAST stands for:
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911
The faster you act, the more likely the stroke survivor is to recover and be able to go back to their former self. Immediate treatment for a stroke can be lifesaving and help minimize the risk of living with lifelong complications associated with a stroke. What’s more, you can also reduce the risk of suffering from a secondary stroke by recognizing and taking preventative measures. Read about these preventative measures here.
2. Start Rehab Early
You will want to rebuild your body as soon as possible, and the stroke survivor may even find themselves presented with a physical therapy team a day after they have suffered from a stroke. They will start off by undergoing simple stretches and exercises with their arms and legs, rebuilding the movements they may have lost. The stroke survivor will have to relearn many of their old skills again which could mean relearning swallowing, eating, drinking and walking.
Rehab will typically see the stroke survivor relearning how to use and move their body so that they can reclaim independence. This can be a frustrating and overwhelming time of their life – it can also be painful and uncomfortable. They may also feel defeated every now and then if they do not think they are progressing quick enough. Always be there to support them and lend a hand. Encourage them by pointing out the small victories. However, try not to sound condescending. You may also want to prepare yourself as watching the rehab sessions could be emotionally and physically draining for you, too.
3. Get the Right Equipment to Help
Firstly, you will want to find products that can help a stroke survivor swallow, eat and drink. Being unable to eat and drink can be painful but also frustrating, so looking for a food thickener can help the stroke survivor chew their food more comfortably. If you are unfamiliar with swallowing disorders, then the blog Simply Holahan can help offer advice and insight for those who may be suffering from dysphagia.
You may also want to invest in exercise equipment such as small weights so that they can rebuild their body in their own spare time. What’s more, you may need to invest in a wheelchair, too.
Suffering from a stroke can have long lasting and devastating effects on a person’s life. However, there are ways to help a stroke survivor reclaim independence and recover. Be there for them and offer a hand whenever it is needed. However, also remember to look after yourself.