A stroke is one of the most traumatic and unexpected life events someone can go through. And it doesn’t just affect the person who experiences it — it can also be life-altering for those close to them. Sadness, confusion, anxiety, stress, helplessness and other emotions are normal for the loved ones of someone who has had a stroke — especially when you suddenly become a caregiver.

Along with feeling a cavalcade of emotions, it’s also normal to be unsure about what to do and how you can help: Here are some essential tips to help you and your loved one cope with the situation:

  • Stay Positive — Over half of those who have a stroke experience depression within a year. Keeping their spirits high can go a long way in reducing this depression and helping with recovery. Of course, it’s easier said than done but try to keep a smile on your face and an upbeat attitude as often as possible. Your good vibes will make a world of difference.
  • Encourage independence — Caregivers will want to assist the patient with every little task. But by encouraging your loved ones to do what they can do, you can help them recover quicker.
  • Be patient — You need to accept that things your loved one used to be able to do easily will now take longer. But instead of doing them yourself, allowing them to take as much time they need when doing these tasks will help both of you in the long run.
  • Encourage participation — It’s important not to let your loved one just sit around during recovery. Instead, try to find ways to keep them active and busy — such as bringing them to activities they once enjoyed doing.
  • Connect with health care providers — Health care providers aren’t just there for the patient. You can use them as a resource to get the help and support you need during the difficult stages of stroke recovery.
  • Don’t overlook your own needs — Make sure you carve out time to exercise, get enough sleep, or have a little “you” time.
  • Surround yourself with a network of support — Find local support groups for caregivers in your community to get the encouragement you need from people who understand what you’re going through.
  • Measure progress – As your loved one goes through the rehabilitation process, track their overall progress. This will allow you to identify what things are working, celebrate little victories, and make the recovery process more manageable.
  • Take breaks – Don’t be afraid to temporarily bring in other people to assist in caring for your loved one. Taking time away to relax and take care of yourself can actually help with their recovery.

It’s important to remember during this trying time that you aren’t alone. The team at CorsoCare is here to help every step of the way.