More than 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year and approximately 405,000 people in the country are living with the effects of stroke, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
A stroke happens when blood flow to any part of the brain is stopped. Strokes can range in size and the effects depend on the extent of the damage and the part of the brain affected.
The risk of stroke increases significantly after the age of 55. Other risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Atrial fibrillation (Afib)
Limitations Immediately After a Stroke
A stroke can affect various parts of your body and cause a number of limitations, some temporary and others permanent. It often affects your physical, emotional, and cognitive functioning and limits your ability to do many things, including daily tasks that were once easy.
Some of the limitations that are common right after a stroke include:
- Difficulty remembering things
- Trouble communicating
- Trouble walking due to foot drop, muscle weakness in the leg and foot, or paralysis
- Trouble using an arm or hand because of paralysis or muscle weakness
- Difficulty controlling your bladder and bowels
- Inability to drive
Fortunately, many of these things improve with time rehabilitation. In the meantime, the effects of a stroke can affect your ability to live independently.
Type of care required
The limitations placed on a person following a stroke can be difficult to accept and cause frustration, anger, and even depression. It’s important to remember that things will improve. Getting the right type of care after a stroke can make these challenges easier to manage so that the patient can focus on their recovery.
Rehabilitation is the first step and its goal is to get a person back to living as independently as possible. This may take some time, but rehabilitation can help a person learn new skills or relearn old ones, and also includes learning to adapt to any new limitations caused by stroke.
Getting back to your community and living as normally as possible is a key component of stroke after-care, so getting in-home help, whether through the help of family, a professional home care agency, or a combination of both is important.
Some of the care required after stroke may include:
- Personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and other grooming and hygiene
- Meal planning and preparation
- Medication administration and management
- Help making and keeping the environment safe and free of obstacles
- Escorting to and from physical therapy and other medical appointments
- Help walking and getting around the home
How the caregiver makes life better
Having a professional caregiver can make life after a stroke better in many ways and take a lot of the stress and frustration off of the patient and family members. Stroke can have a big impact on your relationships. Family members who take on a caregiver role often face significant emotional, financial, and even physical costs when trying to juggle their lives and your care. Enlisting the help of a home care agency can help a person get the best care while providing loved ones with much-needed support.
Professional in-home caregivers can provide all the home care services a person needs after a stroke to help them on their road to recovery in the familiar surroundings of home—which is especially important for those whose memory has been affected.
An in-home care provider doesn’t just perform daily living tasks, but can also provide companionship, which can help reduce the risk of isolation, loneliness, and depression. A warm smile and friendly conversation can do a world of good following something as traumatic as a stroke.
David Porter, CPCA
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care
2018 Stroke Report. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/stroke-report/strokereport2018.ashx
Stroke in Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/stroke-in-canada.html
Recovery and support. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/stroke/recovery-and-support