When Your Parent Has a Stroke

How your parent’s health is impacted after a stroke depends on many factors, including the type and severity of the stroke, previously-existing health conditions, and how long it took to receive proper medical attention. Regardless of these factors, however, your mom or dad now has a higher risk for another stroke, which is why we at Neuralert are working so hard to help. Your parent will need to take precautions, on top of whatever rehabilitation is necessary, in order to decrease the risk of future stroke.

How was your parent impacted?

There are a variety of possible effects after a stroke, depending on what part of the brain is damaged and how severely. Common disabilities after a stroke include:

  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body or localized
  • Paralysis, wide-spread or local
  • Cognitive impairment in learning, reasoning, understanding speech
  • Slurred speech, difficulty communicating
  • Emotional and personality changes
  • Pain in the hands or other areas due to damage to the tissue or to the nerves sending messages
  • Incontinence and inability to perform basic hygiene
  • Vision problems
  • Issues swallowing, eating

Helping your mom or dad recover

The kind of help your parent may need depends on the disabilities that are presented, but the sooner your parent receives therapy post-stroke the better the outcome. Depending on his or her needs, you may have to engage one or more of the following:

  • Speech therapist and/or swallow therapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, and/or therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Rehab nurse
  • Social worker
  • Speech therapist

A medical expert should coordinate all these efforts to help your parent recover. Hopefully, the symptoms and disabilities will be short-term, but you may have to arrange in-house help or supervision, either hiring trained home health services or enlisting the help of friends and family, depending on the severity of the disabilities. You may also need to manage your parent’s medications.

What you need to watch for

Your mom or dad may have emotional or behavioral changes from damage to the brain. These changes are difficult to correct, although not impossible as the brain begins to heal. They may be hard for you to deal with or accept, so be emotionally prepared for a “new normal.”

That said, often these feelings simply stem from the limitations he or she is now experiencing. It is perfectly natural for someone to feel depressed, anxious, or cranky as he or she struggles with a loss of independence, chronic pain, or limited mobility. Be prepared to be emotionally supportive, and try to help your parent return to as much normalcy as possible. Visits from friends and family can really boost feelings of being loved and accepted, even under the new conditions.

Make sure your parent eats regularly. The malaise that can follow disability and the loss of independence can cause a person to just give up and not care about personal health. You will need to encourage and help your parent get back into the swing of caring for himself or herself as much as possible. This should improve as emotional well-being returns.

Your parent will not be able to drive for a while, perhaps permanently, and may not be able to return to work or other activities for some time, if ever. You’ll need to arrange for driving to doctor appointments, religious services, etc. If previous hobbies or work are now out of reach, help your mom or dad develop new interests that will build self-esteem and enhance enjoyment of life.

If your parent had any pre-existing conditions that increased the risk of stroke, work with your parent’s doctors to develop a game plan to remedy those conditions in order to avoid a future stroke.

Stroke can be devastating, and time is of the essence when a stroke occurs. The quicker it is diagnosed, the better the prognosis for the patient. Neuralert Technologies was founded by doctors driven to decrease the terrible effects of stroke by catching the stroke at its earliest stages. Ask your doctor if a Neuralert Stroke Detection wristband would help monitor your parent’s health by sending a warning in the first moments of stroke in order to reduce long-term damage.