It is important to know about stroke especially after you or your loved one has had one because stroke need not mean the end of a productive life. The effects of every stroke is different and it needs determination to work hard with therapies and support and understanding of family and friends. By learning about stroke family and friends can understand what kinds of behaviour can be expected from the patient and decide what actions they should take to help the patient recover as fully as possible. A stroke may cause serious changes in a person's life.
Paralysis: Loss of control and feeling on one side or parts of the body.
Aphasia: Loss of ability to speak, read or write, loss of ability to understand spoken language, or to name objects or express oneself. It can range from temporary slurring to complete inability to communicate.
Other possible effects:
Depression: Person who had a stroke may become depressed. Frustration, low self-esteem, and crying are all common. If depression interferes with the person's progress by draining strength and the will to recover, professional help is needed.
Memory loss: A person affected by a stroke can have trouble recalling things which happened recently (SHORT term memory loss) It affects their ability to learn and retain new information. This normally returns with time.
Emotional upsets: The person may seem irrational, laugh at inappropriate times, cry, swear or behave in a way that is unlike the person's former self.
Judgement difficulties: People with left brain damage are usually overly cautious, anxious, hesitant slow , disorganized. People with right brain damage usually are impulsive, unrestrainable and not personally very safe.
The sooner the therapy begins the better the chance for recovery. Therapies require a team effort on the part of the patient, physician, family, therapists, and nurses.
- Early physical therapy is needed to regain the lost functions like moving around in the bed, getting in and out of the bed, transferring to the chair and toilet, and walking/climbing stairs.
- Occupational therapy helps with self reliance and skills for self care, independent living and employment. It includes visual, vocational, memory training , home making etc.
- Speech therapy: enables to find out the best mode of communication to and by the person affected by the stroke. It also includes helping with swallowing difficulties, problem solving skills,
- Nursing care for the bed ridden person to prevent pressure sores, teaching a person with his medications.
- Making the home comfortable for the recovery process: Discuss with your therapists, they can provide suggestions on modifications to be made to your home to make it easily accessible, safe and clear of tripping hazards, and positioning in bed to encourage independence.
- Devices for the recovery process: ask your therapist about simple devices which can help with independent basic functioning, like a long handled shoe horn, special eating utensils, western commodes etc.
- Understand the persons strength's and weaknesses. Remind on how much progress he has made and encourage to move ahead.
- Steer his attention away from stroke and encourage him to be involved in his favourite hobbies, outings and friends.
- Learn more about stroke to help him better.
- Maintain a positive outlook even if some days are better than the others.
- Recognize that emotional ups and downs are expected.
- Take care of yourself , share the responsibilities with others, set aside some time for yourself and relax.
- Join a Family Support Network to share your feelings with other family members who have been through care giving before, or going through now.