Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tips and Info for Caregivers

The following article is reproduced from the Stroke Wise web site ( with Dave Valiulis' permission. I encourage you to visit his site as he has a lot of excellent articles related to strokes. You may click on any highlighted words below to be taken to a website for more information. When you exit that website you will be returned to this one automatically.

Caregivers for stoke survivors

Tips and info for stroke caregivers

There are over 2.2 million stoke caregivers in the U.S.

General tips for caregivers:
  • Help the individual become involved outside the home and in leisure activities. 
  • Encourage as much independence as possible. 
  • Let the survivor make the decisions.
Be mindful of you too.
The rewards of caregiving include an improved appreciation of life, feeling needed or appreciated, and the development of a more positive outlook. But caregiving can also be a tremendous burden. It can result in psychological distress, decreased social contact and activity, depression, stress, and an overall decrease in quality of life. If you see any of these things happening to you, try these tips:
Seek out caregiver support groups.
Do not try to do caregiving 24 hours a day. Take a break.
Be sure to take care of you. Eat, take your medications, exercise, rest, go shopping, have some fun.
Ask for help from family, friends, or community organizations.
Remember, you are a caregiver, not a slave.
Try to keep a positive attitude. This is an important coping strategy.

Tips for dealing with people with aphasia: 
  • Maintain a natural conversational manner appropriate for an adult. If needed, you can simplify your speech by using short, uncomplicated sentences; but don't talk "down" to them. Do not use "baby talk." 
  • Don't raise your voice; they are not hard of hearing. 
  • Minimize distractions and background noise, such as a blaring radio, whenever possible. 
  • Be patient. Repeat the content words or write them down as needed. 
  • Include the person in conversations and encourage any type of communication, whether it is speech, gesture, pointing, or drawing. 
  • Avoid correcting the individual's speech, unless they ask for help. 
  • Do not finish the person's sentence or train of thought for them, unless asked. 
  • Allow the person plenty of time to talk. 
  • Don't pretend you understood what was said if you did not. 
  • A good video of "aphasia etiquette" comes from the Stroke Association of Great Britain. 
Click to watch video - Ten Guidelines for Interacting with a Stroke Survivor

Publications, handbooks, and newsletters:
Stroke-related associations and websites:
  • Careliving Community is a social network designed exclusively for caregivers and family members of stroke survivors.
  • See the Internet Stroke Center page for general info for caregivers.
  • An excellent page comes from the American Stroke Association.
  • See the Stroke Family Caregiving for African-Americans, which contains useful information for all caregivers.
  • CaringBridge provides free websites to caregivers to easily post updates and progress for the loved one. This reduces the time and emotional energy spent on repeated phone calls and emails and keeps everyone informed with the same, accurate information.
  • The list of Caregiver Rights might help you re-focus some time and energy on caring for yourself and let you know that it's not unusual to feel under-appreciated, frustrated, left out and even angry.
General and local caregiving sites:

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