Stroke recovery doesn’t need to be a solo effort. From balancing a bank account and programming television remotes to driving stroke survivors to physical therapy appointments and helping them bathe, family members and close friends can make a significant impact on the recovery and everyday life of a survivor no matter how modest the task may seem.
When Fred Brock, 56, suffered a series of strokes last year, his family assembled to care for him in his San Diego home. “It felt really good [to have the help] because we’ve always had a real close family and whenever there’s a problem, we rally together and take care of it,” he says.
His daughter, Wendy, works as an accountant, so naturally she manages the family’s finances. His son works in construction and, “if anything breaks down around the house he takes care of it,” Brock says. And his niece regularly drives him to appointments, although Brock boasts he once again is able to drive himself.
Roles of Recovery
Much like Brock’s family, each member can lend a specialty to aid in a stroke survivor’s recovery and take over any tasks the survivor may not be able to complete by themselves.
If you love to cook, offer to prepare meals. Are you skilled in troubleshooting computer issues? Teach a stroke survivor how to restart the WiFi and download helpful apps on their phone. Perhaps you’re a fitness buff and can visit a stroke survivor once or twice a week for a walk around the neighborhood.
Even family members who live out of town can contribute with a variety of caregiving tasks that can be done from afar. Pay bills, send flowers and letters of encouragement, or serve as a lifeline via phone.
Embrace the Help
Although Brock’s pride didn’t get in the way of family coming to his aid, not all stroke survivors openly seek and accept help. That’s a mistake, Brock says.
“Physically you’re limited on what you can do and you just need to learn your limitations and work with that the best you can,” he says. “And try and keep a good sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?”