A stroke can be a life-changing experience for the survivor and their family. Strokes vary in type and severity, but many people have been where you are now—facing difficulties with mobility, vision, speech, swallowing, cognition, and daily functioning.
Making progress after a stroke can feel overwhelming, but with the proper rehabilitation, seniors can regain their strength, courage, and independence over the coming months and years. Learn more about stroke in seniors and how to stay safe at home during recovery.
Recovering from a Stroke at Home
Determining the appropriate level of aftercare is vitally important. Some people benefit the most from in-patient rehab. Others are allowed to return home immediately following discharge from the hospital. Either way, any long-term recovery plan eventually includes at-home rehabilitation.
It may be comforting at first to return home to a familiar environment, but life may not return to normal. Things that used to be easy—like getting dressed, using the bathroom, cooking, and cleaning—may be more difficult now. Rehabilitation may include visits to an out-patient medical facility, but much of the recovery can take place right in the living room. Follow these tips to safely recover from a stroke at home.
Make Changes to the Living Environment
Little changes can make a big difference. Here’s what to try:
- Remedy critical dangers like making sure the water temperature isn’t too hot
- Remove slipping, tripping, and balance hazards.
- Keep everyday items on the kitchen counter for easy access.
- Simplify bedding in the sleeping area.
- Increase bathroom accessibility with grab bars, a walk-in tub or shower, and a comfort-height toilet seat.
- Post a list of emergency contacts in a prominent location.
Take Steps to Prevent Another Stroke
Having a stroke increases your risk for another. Some causes of stroke in seniors are beyond your control. For instance, once you turn 55, the odds double every decade. Women also have a higher risk than men, and African-Americans have more strokes than Caucasians.
Even so, lifestyle changes can make a big impact on the long-term health of a stroke survivor. Here’s how to minimize the risk of having another stroke:
- Quit smoking, vaping, and using tobacco.
- Manage high blood pressure.
- Increase daily physical activity to prevent weight gain.
- Manage existing diabetes.
- Avoid food high in trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol.
Do Post-Stroke Exercises
For recovering stroke survivors, physical activity can make the difference between remaining dependent and gradually gaining independence. Please talk to your doctor before doing these post-stroke exercises recommended by the American Stroke Association.
- Bridge weight shifts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Lift your hips toward the ceiling so your shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Holding your arms out for support and keeping your hips level with the floor, shift your weight slowly from the left leg to the right leg. Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise until your legs become tired.
- Mini lunges: Start in a standing position with your hands on the hips. Step forward with one foot and bend your knee slightly, keeping your hip, pelvis, knee, and ankle in a straight line. Return to the standing position and repeat eight to 10 times on each side.
- Swiss ball weight shifts: Sit in a chair with an exercise ball between your knees. Scoot to the front of your seat and put your hands on the ball. Roll the ball away and bend forward until your elbows touch the ball. Return to the starting position and repeat eight to 10 times. Then, roll the ball out at an angle on the right side eight to 10 times, followed by eight to 10 times on the left side.
- Crumpling a piece of paper: Sit at a table with a piece of printer paper in front of you. Pick up the paper and crumple it with both hands, keeping your shoulders down and back. Then, uncrumple the paper using the same two-handed technique.
Consider Arranging In-Home Stroke Care for Seniors
Some stroke survivors feel comfortable handling daily tasks independently. For others, hiring a non-medical in-home care provider may be necessary. This ensures your loved one has long-term, comfort-focused assistance with dressing, personal hygiene, light housekeeping, and meal preparation.
Arranging in-home personal care services can improve senior health and safety after a stroke. Here’s how:
- Reduce the risk of slips and falls: Mobility limitations and increased fatigue raise the risk of an accident. A care professional can help seniors safely navigate the stairs, use the bathroom, and get in and out of bed.
- Assist with household tasks: Physical and cognitive limitations can make shopping, cooking, driving, and housekeeping more difficult. A caregiver can take over these tasks or arrange services like grocery delivery and transportation to appointments.
- Offer reminders: A stroke survivor’s rehabilitation may involve taking medication, performing at-home exercises, or attending medical appointments. An in-home care provider can remind seniors to do these things at the allotted times.
- Stick to dietary recommendations: Difficulty eating and swallowing are common concerns after a stroke. Having a caregiver there to prepare prescribed foods and monitor your loved one at mealtimes ensures proper nutrition and food safety.
- Watch for signs of another stroke: One in four stroke survivors have had a previous stroke. Care professionals know to watch for signs of stroke in seniors and call 911 for help if necessary.
Choose BrightStar Care
If you’re looking for in-home stroke care for seniors, turn to BrightStar Care. We are committed to providing A Higher Standard of Care by only hiring caregivers who exemplify compassion and empathy. Then, we match them to you based on your personality and lifestyle. For added peace of mind, we also have skilled nursing care available if you need assistance with medical machinery, medication management, wound care, and other nursing services. To learn more about our offerings, please contact us at 866-618-7827.