Your Best Resource: Yourself

21 Nov

Your loved one has just suffered a stroke. What should you do? I’ve compiled a list of things I did after the initial crisis passed. I hope it will help anyone else who’s trying to cope with the stroke of a loved one. Keep in mind that this list constitutes my opinions based on my experience as a caretaker. These are things I did or wish I had done.

1. Get the best medical care available. Make sure a neurologist is on staff. Some hospitals don’t have one, believe it or not. If yours does not, transfer your loved one to a hospital that does.

2. Apply for Social Security Disability Income, even if you think your loved one won’t need it. Benefits don’t start until five months after APPLICATION, not the date of disability, with no retro activity.

3. Demand that therapy start as soon as possible. Anticipate therapy after hospitalization and start making calls now; every facility will have a waiting list, and you want to get your loved one on it as soon as possible. Also, do not be afraid to dismiss a therapist you or your loved one doesn’t like, for whatever reason.

4. Research treatment options; don’t depend on the experts to know everything. Find out if any clinical trials are running, or where the best therapy is for specific conditions, such as aphasia.

5. Create an email list of family, friends and colleagues so that you can communicate about your loved one’s condition and ask for help when you need it.

6. Ask for help! People want to help but often don’t know what you want. Tell them, whether it’s food, a ride to the hospital, someone else to visit your loved one so you can take a break, or just a kind word. Caretaking is a grind, and you may be doing it for a long time, so pace yourself.

7. Wallow in self-pity if you must (I did), but try to take care of yourself. Did I mention caretaking is a grind? All the more reason to take care of yourself. Exercise, eat well, don’t overdo alcohol. If you feel depressed, ask your family physician to prescribe meds.

8. Read everything you can get your hands on about stroke: books, magazines, articles, both in print and on line. Look for a future post with a list of books I found helpful.

9. Start a journal in which you can record events, as well as your feelings. In the chaotic aftermath of a stroke, you may forget things, so it helps to write them down. Also, sometimes you might not realize how you’re feeling until you write it down.

10. Anticipate what your loved one will need upon coming home. Ask the therapists what these might be: a handicap ramp; removal of rugs that might cause tripping; shower seat; etc.


One Response to “Your Best Resource: Yourself”

  1. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto
    a coworker who had been conducting a little homework on this.
    And he in fact ordered me dinner simply because
    I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….
    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk
    about this matter here on your blog.


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