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Video:Tips for Coping With a Loved One's Stroke

with Dr. Joel Stein

A stroke is a hardship, not only for the survivor in rehab, but for their family members as well. Watch this About.com video for tips in aiding the stroke recovery process and coping with its related challenges.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Coping With a Loved One's Stroke

Hello, This is Dr. Joel Stein, rom New York Presbyterian Hospital, here with About.com. Today we’ll be sharing some tips to help you cope with a loved one's stroke.

Emotional Challenges after a Stroke

Even though a stroke typically happens very quickly the recovery process can be quite lengthy. Being witness to a loved one’s diminished abilities can be emotionally challenging. The best course of action is to be resolute in your willingness to help your loved one cope with the aftermath of a stroke.

Focusing on opportunities for improvement, rather than dwelling on the negatives will help counteract some of the frustrations brought about by the event. The stroke survivor needs to be surrounded by people who really care, and are willing to work with their loved one to overcome any communication issues, depression, and other aftereffects of stroke.

Aiding in the Stroke Rehabilitation Process

Stroke can affect people in many different ways. Some individuals struggle with aphasia, which can make communication very difficult. Patience is essential, as is a sense of humor when dealing with these challenging situations. Be aware of the limitations of therapy; although many patients will make a spontaneous recovery, often within 30 days, some will undergo rehabilitation therapy for months or even longer, and may never fully recuperate all of their skills.

It is easy for the loved one’s family members and friends to exclude the survivor from conversations or activities that could help him or her in the process of recovery. Do your best to involve the patient to avoid this. During rehabilitation, many exercises need to be performed at home and persistence and perseverance are key components to success ; the survivor’s friends and loved ones need to engage in this process, to help with therapy by providing a warm, supportive environment and friendship. Encourage independence, don’t make excuses to to skip on necessary exercises.

Don’t be too lenient; sometimes the patient needs to be encouraged to really push himself and make progress to regain as much of their abilities as possible.

Also, sometimes helping others starts with helping oneself. Taking good care of yourself, by eating well, getting enough rest. Join a support group and share your feelings or just take some time off from caring for your loved one to recharge your own batteries.

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