May is American Stroke Month and the perfect time to talk more about stroke recovery at home, after the trauma and crisis of the initial event has occurred. No matter how severe the stroke, returning home can feel both exciting and overwhelming. However, having the right supports in place can make stroke recovery at home more safe and efficient. Here’s what you need to know.
Obstacles to Effective Stroke Recovery at Home
The Centers for Disease Control reports that someone in America has a stroke every 40 seconds. Furthermore, strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability and reduce mobility in more than half of stroke survivors who are over the age of 65. These are startling statistics that prove many older adults are returning home after a stroke with complications that can lead to safety issues at home.
Common obstacles to effective stroke recovery at home can include returning to a home environment that is no longer safe for the senior to navigate independently, diet or nutritional challenges, and feelings of loneliness.
With more than half of older adults returning home after a stroke with limited mobility, family members quickly realize that their loved one’s home must change quickly in order to be safe. Simple DIY projects that can make a home safer and more conducive to stroke recovery at home can include:
- Installing sturdy grab bars in the bathroom; make sure the bars are located on the strong side of your loved one and not on the weaker side.
- Removing clutter and furniture from hallways, bedrooms, and other spaces that can make it hard to use a walker or wheelchair.
- Moving groceries or other items to lower cabinets to make them easier to safely access.
- Relocating commonly used items to new spaces so that your loved one can better identify them and access them, especially if they have vision issues during recovery.
Diet and Nutrition
For many stroke survivors, diet and nutrition are at least somewhat altered during the recovery process. Older adults who are returning home may be doing so with an altered diet that can include new food recommendations and textures.
Be sure your loved one is getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy and safe by:
- Removing foods from the home that are not included in the prescribed diet.
- Making sure thickening packets are easily available by the coffee machine and sink so your loved one doesn’t forget to use them as prescribed.
- Signing up for home delivered meals that meet the prescribed diet and texture.
- Keeping up with appointments with speech therapy as needed.
Feelings of Loneliness
Finally, people who are recovering from a stroke experience heightened emotions and can be at a higher risk for depression or anxiety. Add this to learning how to navigate with newly limited abilities and communication challenges, and you have a sure-fire recipe for feelings of loneliness.
Combat isolation by:
- Having family members and friends sign up to visit on specific days so that your loved one is getting consistent visits from their favorite people.
- Getting comfortable with finding new ways to communicate with one another including paying more attention to body language and becoming comfortable with silence.
At Total Care Connections, we are experienced with assisting seniors through their stroke recovery at home. Thanks to our team of caregivers and nurses, we are able to provide a variety of services and assistance that can make recovery more safe and efficient while increasing opportunities for companionship. Call us today to talk more about your needs.