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Coping with a Family Member who’s had a Stroke.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Sadly, strokes can occur without warning and completely change a family’s life, so it’s important to know how to go about coping if a family member is unfortunate enough to suffer one. First of all, here are the warning signs that someone is suffering from a stroke…

Remember the word FAST:

• F – Face: The person’s face may have dropped on one side and they may be unable to smile.

A – Arms: They may not be able to move or lift one or both of their arms due to weakness.

S – Speech: Their speech may be slurred or they may be unable to talk at all.

T – Time: Time is of the essence so call 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs.

If you’re unlucky enough to have a family member who has suffered from a stroke, here are some things you need to conside.

Know what medication they’re on
Once someone has a stroke then they will almost definitely be on at least one form of medication, quite possibly several. It’s vital that you know exactly what they need to take, how much to take and when to take it, so you can help ensure that they are taking what they need to. You should also find out about any possible side effects of the medication so you know what to expect when they take it.

Reduce the risks of further strokes
Those who have had a stroke are at a high risk of having another unless the relevant advice is followed. Ensure your family member eats healthy meals and gets regular exercise if possible. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise so give them books to read or puzzles to complete to keep their brain active. Also make sure they attend regular consultations with doctors and physicians to see how they’re getting on.

Observe their attitude and behaviour
When someone has a stroke, it can dramatically alter their brain, affecting their attitude, behaviour and even their whole personality. Keep an eye on any changes you notice so that you can mention them to a doctor.

Consider how much care you can offer them
Someone who’s had a stroke may well require a significant amount of care, so you need to consider carefully whether you can offer enough care at home. If you decide to become a full-time carer, then you may be entitled to a Carer’s Allowance. You may also need to look at the possibility of care homes if you can’t provide the care they need. Organisations such as Extra Care run various homes around the country and can help you find the right one for the needs of your family member.

Take care of yourself
This may sound selfish, but looking after yourself is also massively important. Strokes can take their toll on everyone and you need to make sure you cope as well, particularly if you’re providing care. You’ll only be able to provide the best care if you’re healthy and happy too.
This is only a few points to consider if someone has had a stroke. You can find much more information, help and support over at the Stroke Association website.

Brought to you in association with Extra Care.