Becoming a carer
Strokes happen suddenly, and so the changes and challenges they bring also happen suddenly. Immediately after the stroke, you will spend much of your time at the hospital, and may find yourself needing to make decisions about your loved one’s treatment and care. You need to juggle staying in touch with family and friends and meeting with health professionals, all the while providing practical and emotional support to your loved one.
As time passes, you may find yourself taking on the carer role, providing physical, practical and emotional assistance to your loved one. When hospital discharge is being planned, make sure you understand what their needs are, what care you will need to provide and what assistance is available. It’s important to have this information so that you can make good decisions about what you will need. If you’ll be helping with their physical care, make sure you are trained to do so safely and well.
Becoming a carer might not be something you had ever imagined. While caring for another person is an expression of our love, respect and connection, it can take a toll. The impact on you can get lost amongst all the demands.
It is normal for carers to feel a range of difficult emotions such as anger, resentment, frustration, guilt and sadness. There are of course positive feelings too – love and pride, along with gratitude that the person survived. It can help to talk to a trusted family member or friend. You can also talk to a health professional, who is outside the situation and can provide a fresh perspective. It also helps to have assistance with some of the practical tasks involved with caring, and to take a break by using respite care services.
If you find, like many of us do, that your natural inclination is to keep your feelings to yourself and to say no to offers of help, maybe try a different approach. Think about taking opportunities to talk and saying yes to people’s offers of assistance. This will help you manage the demands and share the joys of caring.
You might find yourself caring for them.
At the hospital
After the stroke, you will spend a lot of time at the hospital.
You might have to:
- be there to support your loved one
- make lots of decisions about their care
- talk to lots of health professionals.
- keep family updated.
You may become a carer.
- helping your loved one to do things
- organising things for them
- giving them emotional support.
Before they go home from hospital, make sure you understand what help they need.
Make sure you know how you are going to take care of them.
Find out what other help there is.
Being a carer
Being a carer is a way to show your love.
It can also be very difficult.
Make sure you take care of yourself as well.
Get help for some of the things you need to do.
Take a break using respite services.
Talk to people.
Say ‘Yes’ if someone offers to help.