No prior experience. No qualifications. No idea where to start.
“My Mom went from being completely active to needing care overnight,” said Cavallo, who cared for her mother for eight years following a devastating stroke. “You don’t prepare for that mentally, financially or emotionally. It’s a struggle.”
To help stroke caregivers, the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, developed “Caregiver Guide to Stroke.” The free guide includes sections on emotional support, communicating with the health care team, managing the effects of a stroke, legal resources, financial support and health coverage.
“Becoming a caregiver can be overwhelming,” said Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and family therapist at Crozer-Keystone Health System in Springfield, Pa. “While they are still adjusting emotionally to a sudden change in their loved one’s functioning, family caregivers also feel like they need to become instant experts on treatments, rehabilitation, insurance and more. This guide will help the person who does the helping.”
A common fear for caregivers is that their loved one may have another stroke. The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, nationally sponsored by the global health care product company Covidien, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people remember common warning signs of stroke.
T—Time to call 9-1-1
To download the association’s free “Caregiver Guide to Stroke,” visit www.StrokeAssociation.org/Caregiver. For caregiving or general stroke inquiries, e-mail TogethertoEndStroke@heart.org. North American Precis Syndicate