The Ins and Outs of Caregiving

Being a caregiver to someone who has suffered a stroke can, at times, be difficult. There are moments where you feel confused, hopeless, and even guilty. These are all natural responses that individuals face when taking on a caregiving role. As a caregiver the thought of “what if” has most likely crossed your mind a couple hundred times. What if they have another stroke, what if I’m not doing enough, what if I can’t help them. The truth is, no one has all the answers which can be frustrating when taking care of a loved one who has just suffered a stroke. It is important to remember that you are trying your best and that should be celebrated. Below are four things to remember and practice that will help with these concerns and feelings.

Consider the Little Wins

Whether it is a slight improvement in speech or a literal big step in the right direction, it is always important to count every win. When someone has suffered a stroke there are often lasting physical or mental deficits that can make day to day tasks difficult. Caregivers witness this first hand. As a caregiver you are there every step of the way when it comes to the recovery process. This means that when a stroke survivor advances in their recovery, you should celebrate them, but also give yourself a pat on the back for the aid you have given. 

Allow yourself to feel the pain and  loss

Often when someone suffers a stroke, individuals taking on a caregiving role will feel a lot of different emotions These may include guilt, anger, or sadness. These feelings are completely normal. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and  the loss that has occurred. If you bottle up these emotions, it can lead to resentment which will not benefit you or the person you’re giving care to. Allow yourself to mourn losing the nature of your previous relationship, and to feel angry over the situation. Seek healthy coping mechanisms to manage these emotions by finding someone to talk to or a support group, and try not to dwell on the guilt and feelings of anger or sadness that may come up as there are many other individuals who also feel the same as you. 

Pocket out time for yourself and remember that it’s not all up to you

It is difficult to care for others if you’re not already taking care of yourself. That is why it is especially important to practice self care when you are in a caregiving role. Not taking time to get proper nutrition, good sleep, and some form of movement can lead to stress, depression and resentment. Take time out of your routine to continue hobbies you enjoy and to spend time with friends and family. Also pay attention to what your mind and body is telling you in order to understand your limits as a caregiver.  

Remember you are not alone

There are thousands of other caregivers out there that have the same concerns and anxieties you have. You are not alone. Use the resources that are available to you as a caregiver and try to surround yourself with supportive individuals who understand what it means to take on similar roles. There are plenty of resources available that can be found on the Caregivers page on our website. Here you will find information on support groups, programs, tax credits that are available for caregivers, and guides to follow that will help you. 

Nicole Blatta

Nicole Blatta is a 19 year old Stroke Survivor. She was drawn to the Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba through the young stroke survivor group. Nicole is a third year university student in Asper at the University of Manitoba, working towards a degree in business with a major in marketing and a minor in entrepreneurship/small business in hopes that one day she will run her own business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *