According to the Stroke Center, 750,000 Americans will suffer from a stroke this year. Approximately 70 percent of individuals who suffer from a stroke will survive but will face a number of possible physical disabilities. In fact, many stroke survivors find themselves in need of much rehabilitation and support to function in their daily lives. Caregivers of stroke survivors also face insurmountable physical and emotional challenges as they assist their loved ones on the road to recovery.
If you are a caregiver for a loved one who has suffered a stroke, you are not alone. Many families in have stepped up to provide care and support for their loved ones following a stroke. One such family is Curt’s family (Omaha, Nebraska). Curt, his mother, and his aunt have formed an informal care team. The three plan to share the duties of supporting Curt’s grandmother, who suffered from a stroke just a couple months ago. Curt says, “I am living at my grandmother’s house now, taking care of the dog and the house until she is well enough to come home.”
Once she returns home, Curt will assume the role of full-time caregiver for his grandmother, who is currently receiving rehabilitation at a local long-term care facility. Curt sought training at Caregiver Support Services, where he is learning how to assist his grandmother with meals, transfers, communication, and self-care strategies in preparation for his grandmother’s return.
What the training has taught Curt is that he cannot go it alone. As a result, Curt and his family created a clear plan, which involved Curt moving into his grandmother’s home to provide daily support and care, while his mother and aunt coordinate care and locate resources. The team of three is clearly prepared to support Curt’s grandmother.
However, not all families know where to start when it comes to caring for a loved one following a stroke, especially once they leave the hospital or long-term care facility. As Lauren Sivula, Occupational Therapist at Immanuel Medical Center and Stronger after Stroke Coordinator, says, “Most caregivers are unprepared for how much work it is to care for a loved one following a stroke. Many are just not sure how to help their loved ones be more independent.” Lauren also mentioned that “communication between caregivers and stoke survivors can be a challenge, and caregivers in the home who try to go it alone face obstacles with identifying and accessing resources that might make their caregiving easier.” This is the reason why she and her students from Creighton University started the Stronger after Stroke resource fair, an event now in its second year. The goal of the program is to connect stroke survivors and their caregivers with valuable community resources.
If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke and you would like to attend the Stronger after Stroke event, you can contact Lauren Sivula for more information. If you are a caregiver and are not sure where to start, you can call Caregiver Support Services toll free at (855) 651-CARE (2273). Training and community resources can provide caregivers with a solid base of knowledge that will help them not only care for loved ones but also care for themselves.