Caregiver Handout for Post Stroke Patients

Strokes for Caregivers

Strokes happen when blood doesn’t reach a region of the brain. This is damaging to the brain, because that region doesn’t get the nutrients or oxygen that it needs to be healthy.

Common Symptoms After a Stroke:

  • Left Brain Stroke
    • Trouble controlling their body’s movement on their right side
    • Trouble feeling on their right side
    • Trouble speaking
    • Trouble understanding what people say to them
    • Not seeing things on their right side
    • Slow and cautious personality
    • Memory problems
    • Trouble swallowing
  • Right Brain Stroke
    • Trouble controlling their body’s movement on their left side
    • Trouble feeling on their left side
    • Not seeing things on their left side
    • Not using or forgetting about the left side of their body or environment
    • Making decisions very quickly without thought of safety or consequences
    • Poorer judgment than they had before the stroke

Risk Factors for Strokes:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cardiac Diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug Use
  • Not Exercising
  • Obesity
  • Stress

Things you can do to help:

  • Remind them of ways that they can be safer.
  • Let them explore their surroundings, and try to bring their attention to the side that they sometimes forget.
  • Be patient. Stress may make their symptoms worse.
  • Allow for more time to dress, bathe, eat, and travel.
  • Remove things from his or her home that may cause them to trip and fall if they can’t see as well as they used to.
  • Encourage them to do as much for themselves as possible. If they can’t use their arm and hand to feed themselves, use your hand to assist them in using the limb. This is called “hand over hand” assistance, and it actually teaches the brain how to use the muscles again.
  • Promote them to eat a healthy diet and get a healthy amount of sleep.
  • Try to stimulate them as much as possible without them getting too frustrated. Puzzles, exercise, looking at pictures, and making crafts are a great way to help them start using their brain and body again.
  • Don’t forget to take time for yourself. To provide the best care for someone else, you have to make sure you’re healthy too, so get a healthy amount of sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise as much as you can, and take some time to relax away from your family member or friend.
    • There are many opportunities for respite care in your local area. Social workers and occupational therapists can provide more information about these services.

Adaptive Equipment for Strokes:

  • Reacher
  • Sock Aid
  • Long Handled Shoe Horn
  • Long Handled Sponge for Bathing
  • Memory Book
  • Alarms for reminders
  • Leg lifter
  • Button Hook

Helpful Resources:

National Stroke Association

National Stroke Association
9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112


National Institutes for Health

Mayo Clinic

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