A stroke is a brain injury that can affect anyone at any age but is more common in individuals over the age of 65. Seniors who have had a stroke may experience paralysis, difficulty speaking, trouble swallowing, pain or numbness, bursts of emotion, weakness or problems with balance. Each patient is different and will experience the effects of a stroke differently and in varying intensities.
The first type of care that must happen immediately after a stroke is acute care in a hospital. This will help a patient survive and helps prevent another stroke.
Once a patient has received acute care, it could be several days to several weeks to understand the severity of a stroke’s affects. Some patients may experience spontaneous recovery and regain lost abilities within the first few weeks, while other patients might see a slower return. And sometimes some abilities might not ever return fully or back to peak performance.
Almost all stroke patients must receive rehabilitative care, which will likely include work with both a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, as well as a speech therapist, when needed. Rehabilitation can take weeks or months or longer, but the most important thing is that patients remain consistent in their effort. But how can you help a stroke patient at home? The tips below will help guide you on your loved one’s stroke recovery journey.
In-Home Stroke Recovery: Key Components
1) Stay Calm and Don’t Get Frustrated
First and foremost, leaving the hospital after a stroke is typically a good sign that your loved one is out of the most critical stage and on their way to recovery. It’s important to remember, however, that each patient’s recovery and recovery time is going to be different.
So, stay calm, and don’t get frustrated when some days are better than others, or when progress seems slow. After-stroke recovery is built on long-term strategy, not short-term gains.
Studies have shown again and again that consistent effort over time is one of the best ways to recover after a stroke. Even on days when exercises feel tough or impossible, support your loved one in sticking with their rehabilitation plan. Getting those “reps” in is incredibly important to re-training the brain on how it’s supposed to support the body in all its functions.
Another way to train or re-train the brain and support consistency is for patients to visualize both restored function as well as consistent participation in their rehabilitation. For example, patients that struggle with balance post-stroke can regularly visualize themselves without balance problems. Or, patients who are unsure if they can be consistent with their therapy can visualize themselves participating fully in their rehabilitation.
Since a stroke is a brain injury, showing the brain images of how it’s supposed to function is part of the healing process.
4) Get In-home Help
More and more studies show that stroke victims can rehabilitate at home just as successfully as they can in a supported nursing facility. The key is to make sure the right professionals are on hand to help the patient in their home. In-home physical therapists, home health occupational therapists, and in-home speech therapists can all come to the patient and devise strategies for home recovery.
Strategies might include weekly exercise on a treadmill, new ways to dress and feed themselves or vocal exercises to help regain speech.
5) Limit Background Noise and Distractions
When practicing in-home stroke recovery, it’s important to make sure the brain can focus fully on its recovery. Turn off screens, radios and music and eliminate other distractions while completing exercises. These steps ensure the brain turns all its energy toward the task at hand.
6) Believe in Full Recovery
It’s easy to listen to the stats or cautious physicians and believe that a stroke victim will never regain full recovery of what they once lost. But many studies show that patients who believe in full recovery are more likely to stick with rehabilitation exercises, have a more positive outlook and experience better results with their therapy. Your loved one might have a long road ahead of them, but it will be made easier when they believe in their end goal.
In-Home Stroke Recovery Care in Akron, Ohio
Our home health care agency strives to help seniors enjoy the comforts of home for as long as possible after a stroke. We offer a variety of in-home stroke rehabilitation services like physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Let My Family take care of your family. Contact us today for a home health care assessment.