6 THINGS STROKE CAREGIVERS SHOULD KNOW

Caring for a loved one who has had a stroke is challenging. Most recovery takes place during the first few months after an event, but it can also extend into the first few years. Here’s some short-term and long-term advice for caregivers helping a loved one recover from a stroke.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

HERE’S WHAT CAREGIVERS SHOULD KNOW AFTER A LOVED ONE HAS A STROKE

The thought of caring for a stroke survivor can be daunting. It can also be highly rewarding when you’re armed with the knowledge it takes to face the challenge.

    EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT RECOVERY AND ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

    Does your loved one need medication? If so, are there any side effects? Do they have any specific needs for home care? The more questions you ask the doctor, the more information you’ll have to make the recovery process comfortable for both of you.

    DEVELOP A RECOVERY PLAN — AND STICK TO IT

    Stroke survivors who don’t follow their recommended treatment put themselves at risk of having another stroke. It’s vital to make sure your loved one takes their medication, follows a healthy diet, gets the recommended amount of exercise, and sees their doctor regularly. Remember, everyone’s recovery is different. Focus on your loved one’s regiment and progress instead of making comparisons to other survivors.

    LEARN ABOUT INSURANCE COVERAGE

    Before your loved one begins rehabilitation, talk to the doctor and/or case manager to learn exactly what medical and rehabilitation services are available. Then, find out how much and how long insurance will cover for these services so you can manage costs and expectations properly. And remember: You have the right to access copies of your loved one’s medical and rehabilitation records.

    MEASURE AND LOG YOUR LOVED ONE’S RECOVERY PROGRESS

    Keeping track of how often your loved one goes to therapy helps indicate their rate of improvement. If they adhere to rehabilitation, over time, you should see progress. One of the best ways you can help is to take note of their communication skills, emotional lability, physical mobility, and any functional improvements made.

    STOP POST-STROKE DEPRESSION

    Survivors can experience depression during any phase of their recovery — and it can significantly hinder their progress. If you think your loved one is suffering from depression, talk to the doctor. Additionally, both of you can seek support from helpful resources like survivor and caregiver support groups.

    DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

    Caring for a stroke survivor is a big task, and you don’t have to do it alone. Taking care of them also means taking care of yourself. Ask a physical or occupational therapist for help, especially if your loved one experiences dizziness or trouble engaging in everyday activities. Loss of balance and falls are common, but if they’re serious or recurring, contact the doctor.

    senior male sitting in a wheelchair


    Caring for them means caring for you

    Taking care of your loved one after a stroke is one of the most important and most challenging things you’ll ever do. As a caregiver, you’re a vital part of your loved one’s post-stroke journey. You’re tasked with staying informed, alert, organized, and positive along the road to recovery. It’s a big undertaking.

    So it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. If you start to feel burnt out, there are many resources you can turn to for help, including the doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, case manager, or social worker. Additionally, caregiver support groups can also provide comfort and advice during difficult times.

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    MANAGING RISK:

    WHY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH

    If you take prescription medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, they may not be enough to protect your heart. Talk to your doctor about whether these medications are enough for you and whether adding an aspirin regimen can help further reduce the risk of another heart attack or clot-related (ischemic) stroke.

    LEARN HOW ASPIRIN COULD HELP

    Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. 

    STROKE SURVIVORS HAVE A LOT TO LIVE FORWARD TO

    Get inspired by what motivates these stroke survivors.

    middle aged woman with younger woman

    PENNY S.

    “It’s like you’re there, but it’s like you’re in an [out of] body experience.”

    SEE PENNY’S STORY >
    candid photo of an stroke survivor

    ANNA B.

    “I didn’t think I was having a stroke. I knew everyone was acting really urgent. It was scary for me!”

    SEE ANNA’S STORY >
    older man smiling

    TOM K.

    “I had very good handwriting … and now it’s terrible, but that’s a small price to pay in this life and death situation.”

    SEE TOM’S STORY >
    woman smiling

    JOYCE A.

    “I’m celebrating my 52nd birthday in two weeks, and … I’m thankful to be alive.”

    SEE JOYCE’S STORY >
    woman smiling

    TONI G.

    “Education is key for me. I feel so good that I’m able to help people.”

    SEE TONI’S STORY >

    Aspirin regimen products for recurrent stroke prevention

    Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.

    Bayer® Aspirin is available in a variety of doses and forms. 
    Learn more by clicking on a product below.
    Use as directed.

    This tool is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, medical advice, or medical treatment. Contact your healthcare provider after using the tool to discuss your heart health or if you have any health concerns.

    Estimated risk of a cardiovascular event, specifically, the risk of a heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI) or stroke in the next five years.