How Does Stroke Affect Family Members?

Stroke not only can be potentially life-threatening condition, but it is the common cause of disabilities. People with this health problem often lose their ability to function & take care of themselves – the starting point of where stroke can affect the patient’s family members. The complications that may occur include problems in speaking (dysarthria), language impairments (aphasia), decreased mobility due to poor in using one side or both sides of the body, and decreased life span.

Poor in self-care

Many patients cannot back to their usual routines normally. But there is always a way to make a patient can enjoy what they did before stroke.

Some modifications are available to help patients do some of the same things they did before. If one of your family members have this health problem, the role of family support is very crucial for recovery.

image_illustration60Life after a stroke is usually difficult for patient. One of the major issues is about poor in self-care. The disabilities in using some parts of the body can make patients very poor in doing many daily activities on their own.

Typically, they need someone else to help perform certain tasks, and therefore they need a caregiver. In many cases, patient can rely on her /his family to take care of her/him. Unfortunately due to certain reasons, not all families are ready to cope with this issue.

Aphasia and dysarthria

Both problems can significantly affect how patient communicates with others. Patients with aphasia can lose their ability to use language that they get used before stroke.

Dysarthria may be less severe than aphasia, but it also can significantly affect the speech because the muscles that are used to speak are affected by stroke. Some patients can have both aphasia and dysarthria.

See this section for in-depth information about the speech problems after stroke.

These problems can severely limit the ability of patients to communicate with others. This can make the family members of patients difficult to understand the speech of patient. As a result, the family members may be poor in understanding what they want and what they desire in daily activities.

Though there are some options to help patient communicate better with others, but many times this issue can bring frustration and stress into the family.

Problem in returning to the previous occupation

The disabilities and other complications of stroke can significantly change the dynamic of power in the family. They also can change the relationship among family members, and this can vary from case to case.

Patients can be poor in giving the same support (either emotionally or financially) they did before to their family. There is a chance for more conflicts to occur – even for the possibility of a divorce.

Typically, most patients have difficulty in returning to their previous occupation. For some families, this issue is not a problem, but others can be different.

But new job training with some modifications can be made to allow patients after stroke to keep productive. However, always remember that the health and well-being is still number one priority – don’t allow them to push their self too hard!

Family support and stress

As noted before, family support is very important for recovery. A family support is needed to assist patient with personal needs, transportation for medical check-ups /rehabilitation, meal preparation, and many more.

All of these things can bring more stress into the family that may change the mechanism of how each member of family relates to others.