Health Issues Spouses of Stroke Victims Face

There are many studies on stroke victims and their recovery. However, it is important to keep in mind their primary caregivers – mainly their spouses. Being a caretaker of a stroke victim can be very stressful and require a large amount of time, energy and devotion. We must remember that the spouses of these stroke victims are also elderly with their own health issues and find it difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to cope with these stressors.  And, this problem often exacerbates whatever illnesses they have.

A study from the American Heart Association Journal Stroke, evaluated the mental and physical health of spouses of stroke victims. The goal was to determine the long-term effects of the stresses associated with caring for stroke victims. This study demonstrates the importance of understanding the effects of a stroke on the spouses, as well as the stroke victims themselves.

Swedish researchers examined 248 stroke survivors. Their spouses were evaluated and compared to 245 non-stroke caregiver spouses over the course of 7 years. Researchers examined several mental and physical aspects of life for the spouses of stroke victims. Overall, the spouses experienced more health issues, less vitality and decreased socialization functions than the control subjects.

spouses of stroke victimsDepending on the severity of the stroke and needs of the affected spouse, caring for the stroke survivor can be a full-time job. Furthermore, it can also increase the caregivers’ stress level, preventing them from getting regular physical activity or discouraging them from getting out to socialize with friends and family. Caring for a loved one may mean a spouse has to quit their job, placing additional financial stress on the family.

Many spouses feel a responsibility to their loved ones and are hesitant to reach out for help, even when that undertaking becomes too much to handle alone. However, as this study reveals, the burden of caring for a spouse after a stroke can take huge tolls on the mental and physical health of the caretaker. The best way to ensure the health of both the stroke survivor and their spouse is often to enlist the help of a home health aide.

At David York Agency, we understand how difficult and life-changing a stroke can be, not only for the survivor, but for their spouse as well. Life as you’ve known it has changed and it is okay to ask for help. Our experienced home healthcare professionals can provide the compassionate and personalized care that your loved one needs, allowing you the time to nurture your own mental and physical wellness.

For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For additional information about stroke risks or about arranging care for a loved one who has suffered from a stroke, contact us today.

5 Risk Factors for Stroke

A stroke can be a horribly devastating occurrence that affects not just the victim involved, but their entire family. A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to part of the brain is blocked, resulting in a lack of oxygen to brain cells. Without oxygen, the brain cells will start to die.

risk factors for strokeSymptoms of a stroke include weakness that comes on suddenly, inability to move arms or legs, numbness of the face, difficulty speaking, and difficulty seeing. A stroke can cause brain damage or death and, therefore, is a serious medical condition. Emergency treatment is required.

However, just as important as knowing the symptoms of a stroke is knowing the risk factors that can cause a stroke. Numerous risk factors for stroke have been identified by the medical community. The more risk factors a person has the more likely they are to have a stroke. Some of these risk factors cannot be controlled, but others can be minimized. Risk factors that are not able to be treated include:

  • Age – Strokes are most common among those 55 and older.
  • Heredity – Risk of stroke is higher if a family member has had a stroke.
  • Gender – Women are more likely to die from strokes than men.

The factors that patients can influence through changes in diet, habit, and/or medication include the following.

1. Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known to be the leading cause of stroke. Blood pressure is considered high if it is 140/90 mmHg or above. Many effective blood pressure medications are available to help patients reduce their blood pressure and, therefore, reduce the risk of stroke. In addition, reducing sodium intake is known to decrease blood pressure.

2. Smoking

Over the years, studies have shown a link between cigarette smoking and an increased risk of stroke. Blood vessels are damaged by smoking. Quitting smoking is one effective way to reduce the risk of stroke.

3. Obesity and Diabetes

People who are overweight and those with diabetes are more likely to have a stroke. Losing weight can help with both diabetes and stroke risk. Reducing calorie intake and eating a diet with five or more servings of fruits and vegetables will aid in achieving these goals.

4. Cholesterol

A diet high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol all contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. Again, changing diet will be effective in reducing the likelihood of a stroke.

5. Inactivity

The medical community recommends people get at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Small changes, such as taking a walk, can make a big difference and reduce the risk of stroke.

Life After a Stroke

Although a full recovery after a stroke is possible, in many cases, full recovery takes a considerable amount of time. Some people end up with lifelong disabilities, and many stroke patients require home care. Here are some of the issues that stroke patients face on their road to recovery.

  • Difficulty communicating due to language, speech and memory issues
  • Paralysis or muscle weakness on one side of the body, resulting in a higher risk of falling
  • Trouble with daily activities such as dressing, eating, and personal hygiene
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Emotional struggles, such as changes in behavior

At the David York Agency, we understand how difficult and life-changing a stroke can be. The road to recovery is often a long and strenuous one, and it is necessary to have all the support and help you can get along the way. Our experienced healthcare professionals are highly-trained and capable of giving your loved one the care and attention they need following a stroke.

For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For additional information about stroke risks or about arranging care for a loved one who has suffered a stroke, contact us today.