A stroke can happen suddenly and without warning. Adjusting one’s lifestyle to take care of a family member who has suffered a stroke can be a frustrating process especially if you are the sole caregiver, and you may be at a loss as to how to deal with the situation.
This guide will cover practical suggestions on how you can take care of a loved one who has survived a stroke.
Stroke survivors often suffer from dysphagia due to weakened muscles or paralysis. If dysphagia is not properly managed, aspiration (inhaling food or drink into airways or lungs) may occur and lead to other complications such as pneumonia.
Our Jaga-Me Nurses (JagaPros) will ensure that preventive measures are taken to prevent dysphagia:
Some patients require tube feeding to acquire the necessary nutrients as they have severe difficulties swallowing. Check out our article on handling NGT feeding here to find out more.
Here are some tips from our JagaPros who have cared for stroke patients as professional caregivers in Singapore:
Using the washroom and bathing can be a real struggle for stroke survivors, but can be made easier with the following tips:
Incontinence refers to the lack of voluntary control of one’s urination or defecation. As a caregiver, handling incontinence may be a daunting and somewhat unpleasant job.
Life after a stroke can be a very isolating and troubling experience, and post-stroke depression is prevalent in many stroke survivors. Anxiety, fear and depression can be difficult to deal with, but with the right management and support, stroke survivors are definitely capable of making a full emotional recovery.
From a study conducted by medical researchers in Singapore, approximately 18.4% of stroke patients were re-hospitalised in the 5 years following their first stroke. The risk of a stroke recurrence is ever-present and thus it is still important for a caregiver to understand the symptoms of stroke even for a post-stroke patient.
Often, stroke symptoms are sudden and unexpected. However, you can prevent a stroke by understanding the tell-tale warning signs and symptoms typical of a stroke using the acronym FAST:
If you or your loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, immediately call 995 within 5 minutes. Note the time the symptoms started to occur and most importantly, remain calm while awaiting emergency medical attention.
To reduce such recurrences, it is also advisable to make certain lifestyle changes, such as:
Your loved one may resist such drastic changes, but it is crucial to communicate to them the importance of these lifestyle adjustments in maintaining a healthier lifestyle in the long run, and reducing the risk of stroke recurrence and further complications related to stroke. Start with small steps, for example, gradually reducing consumption of deep fried food from 4 times a week to 2 times a week, then subsequently further reducing the intake of high cholesterol foods.
Caring for a stroke survivor may be rather demanding, especially if the patient suffers severe post-stroke complications, which may require constant attention from the caregiver. As a caregiver, you may feel fatigued and even depressed from the stress of juggling work and caring for your loved one.
Connecting with other caregivers facing similar struggles as you and sharing experiences can be a good source of emotional support. Find out more about Singapore National Stroke Association’s caregiver support group here.
Taking care of your loved one at home in a familiar environment rather than leaving them in a nursing home helps them age in place and lead more comfortable and happy lives.
At Jaga-Me, we understand your struggles. That’s why we offer professional home respite care service tailored just for you. Learn more about our home care services here so you can enjoy a well-deserved break while you leave your loved one in our safe hands.
Need some financial aid in taking care of your stroke patient? Jaga-Me has compiled a comprehensive list of financial assistance schemes for care recipients and caregivers in Singapore for your reference.
At Jaga-Me, we fully understand your concerns and difficulties. To ease your burden, we provide high quality home care for your loved one so you can relax and take a breather. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help you.