Carers Program
Carers Program

Caring for a Person who has had a Stroke

Stroke happens when the flow of blood to parts of the brain is blocked. When blood can't reach certain areas of the brain, the oxygen supply to those areas is cut off and the brain cells die. Sometimes, blood vessels burst and blood spreads into nearby parts of the brain, which is called a haemorrhage.

When stroke first happens, the effects can range from mild to severe disability. The damaged area of the brain can cause various problems with a person's day to day functioning, which may be temporary or permanent.

The person affected by stroke, and their Carer, may experience a range of physical, mental and emotional problems as a result.

Depending on the kind of stroke, problems can occur with:

  • Movement, including problems with muscle weakness;
  • Balance, standing and walking;
  • Communication and speech: speaking, understanding what someone is saying, reading or writing, could be affected. Activities which were simple before, such as following a conversation or television program, could be affected;
  • Reading, writing and basic mathematics skills;
  • Emotions: loss of control over emotions, such as laughing or crying - for example, laughing or crying at in appropriate times;
  • Memory and thinking: ability to remember day to day events, and people's names and faces, can be poor;
  • Personality change: after a stroke, personality changes may be seen in the person; they may become more confused, uncooperative or irritable, or lose interest in their regular activities;
  • Depression: people may feel sad or depressed about the loss of their health and their life before the stroke, and feel fearful about the future

As a Carer looking after someone with a stroke, you could find that someone could have all or some of these problems, to different degrees of severity. These changes can affect the person's role in a family and change the way that a family does things. Carers and other family members looking after the person may need to take on tasks previously done by the person who has had the stroke. This could include tasks such as gardening, shopping, housework and looking after finances.

The person could also now need help with personal care tasks they could once do for themselves, such as showering, toileting, dressing, and eating. The work arrangements of both the Carer and the person could also change, depending on the needs of the person who has had the stroke. The stroke survivor may have to give up their job, either on a temporary or permanent basis.

This can result in huge changes in the life of stroke survivors, families and Carers.

Carers of people who have suffered stroke may find that they need to talk to someone about adjusting to the changes in their life.

The Stroke Recovery Association of NSW is the main organisation that helps stroke survivors, Carers and families. They offer a range of services and support, which includes Stroke Recovery Clubs.

The Stroke Recovery Association provides:

telephone counselling;

  • stroke information kits;
  • co-ordination of Stroke Recovery Clubs, stroke seminars and workshops;
  • a library of books, videos and brochures;
  • regular newsletter on stroke issues to members;
  • referrals to other service for example, cleaning services; or referral to services for personal care, physio and other follow-up services
  • The Stroke Recovery Association has free Information kits, and can tell you about the nearest Stroke Recovery Club.

Phone 1300 650 594 for more information, or see Important Links.
Email: info@strokenews.org

Important Links:
http://www.strokensw.org.au/

Information on this page is drawn from the website of Stroke NSW