We hear a lot about stroke prevention and the warning signs of stroke. This is for good reason, having a stroke is an all too common and potentially deadly occurrence.

How common is it? According to the National Stroke Association, approximately 7 million people in the United States are stroke survivors and one out of four stroke survivors has a second stroke. Survivors of stroke deal with feelings of fear, anxiety, doubt, and oftentimes depression. Therefore, it is critical to provide them with both emotional and physical support. We are going to provide some ways that you can support stroke patients in your life.

Emotional Support

Stroke patients fight an emotional battle in addition to their physical recovery. Fear, anxiety, doubt, and depression are some of the foes that they face. The role that you as the caregiver can play is to encourage and reassure them in their recovery as well as to motivate them in their rehabilitative activity. If they are suffering from depression referring them to and possibly attending counseling with them, may be necessary.

Physical Support

Stroke induced paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, numbness, and/or stiffness may cause the patient to require help in performing their activities of daily living (ADLs). They may need assistance in bathing, dressing, and grooming as well as eating. There are products and aids that can help you to help them and that they can use to allow them to be able to perform these activities independently.

Bathing aids such as handheld portable shower heads, soap grippers, long handle bath sponges, back scrubbers, shower chairs, and grab bars are a few items that can make bathing simpler and safer for stroke patients.

Getting dressed can be done more independently with aids including zipper pulls and button aids, dressing sticks and shoehorns.

Adaptive dining aids give stroke survivors the freedom to feed themselves. One-handed dinnerware, adaptable drink holders, and bendable big grip weighted silverware, are some of the products that can be used to make dinner time less frustrating for both the stroke patient and their caregiver.

Lifestyle Changes

Initiating lifestyle changes is a critical part of stroke survivors' recovery process. It is also an area in which they may need a lot of support from their caregiver(s) and loved ones. These changes include starting new activities, modifying activities, as well as stopping old habits that are harmful to recovery.

Starting an exercise regimen is often encouraged as a part of rehabilitation. Depending upon the patient's abilities, this may consist of walking, chair exercise, water exercise, stretching, and other forms of physical activity.

Dietary modification is often stressed to help prevent a second stroke from occurring. Reducing or eliminating fried foods and foods high in cholesterol, saturated and trans-fat is recommended for lowering the risk of a recurrent stroke.

Eliminating the old bad habits is what may require the most support in making lifestyle changes, as breaking a habit is a difficult task, especially if there is resistance on the patient's part. Giving up alcohol and nicotine are two primary habits that stroke survivors are encouraged to break.

Stroke recovery can be a long, hard, frustrating road to travel. We hope that we have provided some information that can help make it a little less so.

© Copyright 2017 The Wright Stuff, Inc. Articles may only be redistributed in its unedited form. Written permission from The Wright Stuff, Inc. must be obtained to reprint or cite the information contained within this article.