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Information for Stroke Caregivers

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Caregivers may be spouses, partners, children, brothers, sisters, and friends. They may provide care for only a few months, or for several years.

Although being a caregiver may be a rewarding experience, it also can be frustrating and stressful.

Caregivers may have a variety of emotions and needs after their loved one has had a stroke.

Those feelings may include:

  • A sense of isolation
  • A fear that the caregiver cannot provide adequate care
  • Guilt
  • Frustration
  • An intense sadness
  • A fear of abandonment by family and friends

These feelings are all normal.

Taking Care of Your Life, Too

There are several key things to remember as a caregiver, primarily to take care of yourself and your needs.

  • Remember that caregiving is a choice that people can fall into unexpectedly. Do not let your loved one’s recovery and rehabilitation always be the only focus.
  • You deserve good health and quality time to yourself. These two things may be the best gifts you can give to your loved one.
  • Caregiving is not a one-person job. Look for, ask for, and demand help if necessary. Ask your family members and friends to help with respite care.
  • Accept help and suggest things for people to do. Likewise, be aware of what you can and cannot do. Set realistic goals and priorities.
  • Educate yourself. Learn about new medical treatments and ideas.
  • Be aware of depression. Some signs of depression include:
    • A loss of energy
    • A change in appetite
    • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
    • A loss of enjoyment about things that were once pleasurable
  • If you feel depressed, do not delay in getting help. It is possible to get a referral for a psychiatrist or to get antidepressant medicine.

Stroke Resources for Loved Ones and Families

UPMC Stroke Institute
412-647-8080
UPMC Presbyterian C400
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Resources for support or more information may include:

  • Community organizations
  • Local colleges, churches, and senior centers
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Adult day care centers
  • County social services offices and public health agencies

Visit the following websites to learn more about stroke and caregiving:

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