When a parent suffers from a stroke, it can be a shock for the whole family. Once they receive the care they need in the hospital or long-term care facility, it’s important to start focusing on the next chapter of recovery: coming home. Your parent may have long-term effects, which can impact their ability to perform tasks of daily living and remain safe at home. As you and your family begin discussing how to best help your parent, you should know what to expect as your loved one transitions home, including what type of care they will require, obstacles they may face, and more.
In this post, we will outline some of the things you can expect when a parent comes home after a stroke.
Lots of Appointments
After your parent comes home, they will likely have a number of doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions. Common healthcare professionals involved in your parent’s recovery include:
- Primary care physician
- Physical therapist
- Speech therapist
- Occupational therapist
Of course, these appointments depend on the specific needs of your mom or dad.
With the large number of professionals on your loved one’s care team, it’s important to stay organized. It’s easy to lose track of appointments, prescriptions, exercises, and more. However, it’s crucial that each professional is aware of the other treatments going on and that each treatment is carried out with exactness. Be prepared with transportation to and from appointments and take detailed notes at each appointment to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
If you need help, Caring Senior Service has a Family Portal that healthcare professionals can also access. This portal can serve as a centralized hub for your loved one’s medical and treatment records, making it easier to stay on top of their recovery.
Home Safety Concerns
Your parent may have physical limitations when they come home, which can affect how safely they can navigate their own home. For example, they may struggle to get out of bed now or to get in and out of the shower. Part of your role as a family caregiver will be to ensure that the home is safe for them. So, you may need to make some adjustments to address hazards.
Some common home safety hazards include:
- Loose rugs
- Poor lighting
- Uneven surfaces
We offer a free Home Safety Assessment that can help you identify other risks around the house. Reach out to your local Caring team for more details.
You may want to conduct a walkthrough of the home before your parent gets home to make sure everything is ready for their arrival. And even after conducting this assessment, you should look for hazards in their home any time you are there.
The Driving Conversation
After your parent returns home, they may not be able to drive anymore due to the effects of a stroke. They could have impaired vision, reduced fine motor skills, or other lasting effects that could affect their ability to drive a car safely.
You and your family may need to have the conversation with your mom or dad about driving. This can be a difficult conversation because driving is a symbol of freedom, and taking driving away can feel like a huge loss of independence. Without being able to drive, your parent would need to plan outings in advance, arrange transportation, and make other logistical arrangements. They may feel like a burden or feel isolated at home.
When having the conversation about driving, try to put yourself in your parent’s shoes. Remind them about your safety concerns and how much you love them. For more tips on how to address driving, check out our blog post.
You and your parent may expect recovery to be fast. However, each senior’s recovery is different. Some seniors make a full recovery while others may struggle with long-term effects for the rest of their lives. It can be easy to get discouraged, especially a few months into recovery. It’s important that you and your parent remain patient and optimistic.
You can help your loved one stay positive by focusing on the small wins each day. Maybe they can’t tie their shoes on their own but they can get the shoe on their foot. Your positivity will rub off on them and help them stay motivated to continue working towards the best quality of life possible.
Your mom or dad may experience emotional challenges as well as physical ones when they get home. If they have physical limitations, they may grieve their loss of independence or fall into depression. You might notice that they withdraw from social situations or seem distant during conversations. If this happens, you may need to encourage them to seek medical help. Mental health challenges can have a negative impact on your loved one’s recovery and progress. So, addressing issues sooner rather than later can bake a big difference in their recovery.
You might also face emotional challenges yourself as you take on the role of a family caregiver. Helping your loved one can put a strain on your relationship with them and your relationship with your own family. It’s common for family caregivers to experience burnout and stress as a result of their new responsibilities.
Know that you are not alone! And it’s okay if you need a break from caregiving for a bit. Our caregivers can step in and provide respite care so you can focus on you so you can better care for your parent.
If you need assistance to care for your parent after a stroke, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our staff is specifically trained to care for stroke survivors. Our Stroke Specialty Program focuses on the unique needs that these seniors face, and we can help support you and your family during recovery.