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
- 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
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: