Living with peak pollution and other risk factors in the worlds’ crowded cities should mean that the alarming rate of strokes in adults across the world, is no surprize. Whereas most people survive a stroke, very few do so particularly well: the aftermath of a stroke may cause your loved one to have speech difficulties, partial memory loss as well as the loss of mobility and therefore difficulties walking or climbing up and down staircases. It is also not uncommon for facial appearances to be altered during and after a stroke.
The reality is that many people need to live a life of adaptation so there are ways in which you can support them to live a more normal life. When faced with consequences such as disability, family members can often be overwhelmed.
Lets focus now on a few support ideas that will make their life better in case of stroke-related disability:
Trained carer dogs are usually helpful because they can help monitor their owner – they never leave the side of their owners. More than that, the animal has a calming effect on the patient – much akin to that of other humans who are friendly and warm around your loved one. Maybe welcoming a new Labrador or Jack Russel pet to the family is the way to go.
Speech or walking therapy:
Nowhere near enough resources are available for stroke recovery research since governments are falling behind with the ageing demographic. What we do know, is that with time, the brain can retrain itself and for this reason, a combination of speech and / or walking therapy is often required. Notice that you should have ample patience as it is a slow process where it can take months to see incremental improvements.
Stairlifts and wheelchairs:
With impaired mobility, it is crucial not to strain your own back to try and help your loved one live a normal life. What you need in many cases is a stairlift in the house that can help them move around, particularly if you live in a multi-level house. Remember that if you fear the cost may be prohibitive, you can always consider the price of a reconditioned stairlift. For trips away a wheelchair may be needed.
Diet and medication:
Your doctor will recommend steps for care and rehabilitation, which will certainly include dietary changes and the need to take specific medicine. It is normal for family members to ignore this when they try to resume a ‘normal’ life but this can be dangerous. You can always obtain a second opinion on diet and medication from another specialist so do take it seriously.
There will be many changes through life, some we do not always expect. With a stroke that leads to disability, you may have to help your loved one to attend therapy, equip your home with a new stairlift or wheelchair and keep an eye on diet and medicine needs. The one thing to remember is that through correct manual handling, you avoid injury to yourself, which is ultimately also a way you can keep in good form to continue supporting your family. A lot research is currently being done on strokes so it would be great if you frequently revisit your support and rehabilitation options.