Caring for a Stroke Survivor: Is Home Care for You?
The need to provide care for another person arises for many reasons. Often, the person who needs care does not realize it and family members must step in to help make decisions. One of those decisions involves who the caregiver will be and where care will be provided. The choices can be difficult unless you know what to consider.
When one member of the family becomes disabled, roles within the family often change. A person who took care of the family in the past or was the income provider may become dependent, while another person in the family takes on added, often unfamiliar responsibilities. For a single person, the changes may involve a new dependence on non- family members. Just the word "dependence" can cause unpleasant feelings. Being able to talk openly about fears, anxiety, frustration, and doubts can be very helpful in dealing well with these new facts of life.
Discuss chronic care needs with the person's medical team to learn what treatments, adjustments and other changes may be necessary. For some people, training to provide medical treatments and some long-range financial planning will be enough. For others, in-home personal assistance is the best option. Sometimes a nursing home or assisted living center is the better choice for everyone involved.
In making the decision for home care, it is important to be realistic about what your survivor needs, and what you, the caregiver, can provide in terms of time, kinds of care, and financial responsibility. For example, deciding to hire an in-home attendant may be necessary if the primary caregiver works full time. Before this happens, it's important to look at the financial and emotional issues that go along with this decision.
First, caregivers need to think about important issues such as independence, privacy, and the financial effect of hiring in-home help. Then the caregiver needs to talk to the survivor and others living in the home about these issues. How will the family pay for in-home help and how will it find the right person(s) or agency?
Before a person can be hired, the family needs to look at what kind of care is needed: medical (symptom management, occupational or physical therapies, etc.), personal care (bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, etc.), homemaking (shopping, errands, laundry, housecleaning), or companionship (social outlets, safety issues, etc.).