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Caring for Yourself while Caring for Others

Caregiver Education at Mary Free Bed

Stroke recovery involves many factors from early assessment and rehabilitation to aftercare. The role of the caregiver has significant impact on the recovery process. Being a caregiver can be a rewarding experience, but can also become a burden, especially if the caregiver doesn't make use of available resources.

Common negative effects of caregiving on the caregiver are:

  • Decreased physical and mental health
  • Decreased social contact
  • Increased risk for depression
  • An overall decrease in quality of life

Mary Free Bed's stroke team will answer any questions you have, direct you toward community resources, and educate you on the stroke recovery process.

A Positive Caregiving Experience

Here are some suggestions for making caregiving a positive experience for the person recovering from a stroke and for the caregiver:

  • Ask for information and education from skilled nursing and therapists who are familiar with stroke rehabilitation and recovery.
  • Educate yourself regarding what the recovering person is capable of doing physically and cognitively and without assistance.
  • Know your limits and accept assistance with housekeeping, meals, shopping, and transportation from family, friends, church members, or an outside agency.
  • Take care of yourself by getting a good night’s sleep, exercise, and good nutrition.
  • Take time for yourself by getting away for a long weekend or spending an evening with friends.
  • Join a local stroke support group to talk about normal feelings related to being a caregiver.

Caregiver Resources

The American Stroke Association’s Family Support “Warmline”
1.800.553.6321

American Red Cross's Family Caregiving Program
Self-study Module with CD ($24.95)
1.800.667.2968
www.redcross.org

Gerontology Network
616.456.6135
www.gerontologynetwork.org

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