Recovery after a stroke can be unpredictable and scary. Depending on the amount of damage that was done to the brain during the stroke, your loved one can feel like a completely different person. While they may spend some time in a rehabilitation facility, they will eventually be sent home to recover there. This can lead to some challenges that you may not have expected. And since there is no one timeline of what to expect, it can feel overwhelming. The good news is that if you’re the one tasked with helping them recover at home, there are plenty of natural things you can do to help the process.
Pursue Occupational Therapy Sessions
Occupational therapy is a very distinct form of therapy that helps people learn to adapt. After a stroke, your loved one might experience some paralysis. Someone with a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) doctorate will create a plan to help them learn to use the tools and limbs that do work to do basic tasks themselves such as eating and getting dressed if possible. These sessions are critical to helping your loved one gain some independence after they’ve experienced a stroke.
Create an Environment Conducive to Sleep
Sleep is important for brain health and after a stroke can be especially important in healing from the damage. Give them quiet time, a dark room, and a good sleep schedule to ensure they are resting when they need it. After all the therapy sessions they get and trying to get back to some feelings of normalcy, you will find that they become much sleepier than they used to. It’s important to be there to help them get into bed, and get everything they need to rest well at home after a stroke. As time goes on, this sleep when combined with other recovery methods will improve your loved one’s health and help them gain back some of their independence.
Make Meals With Brain-Boosting Foods
Creating meals that are nutritious is especially important after a stroke. Making foods softer if needed can be easily done by making soups and other warm meals. Blueberries and salmon are excellent foods to eat after a stroke to improve overall brain health and stimulate brain healing.
Increase Their Healthy Fat Intake
Another important aspect of a healthy brain diet is eating healthy fats. Things like salmon, grass-fed beef, and even olive oil can help the brain do better after a stroke. The brain needs fats to thrive and giving them these healthy fat choices instead of refined oils like soybean or vegetable oil can help their health improve more quickly.
Incorporate Alternative Medicine
While western medicine has its place, there are plenty of alternative medical treatments like acupuncture that can improve people’s health after a stroke as well. Look for experienced practitioners and people who know how to work with stroke patients as well. Yoga and Tai Chi are also helpful for stroke patients who are able to do them. They can both help your loved one regain balance and focus that they may have lost from the stroke.
Help Them Complete Rehabilitation Exercises at Home
As a caregiver, it often falls on you to help continue treatments at home. In between physical therapy and occupational therapy, it’s often up to the loved ones to make sure they maintain their rehabilitation exercises at home. It helps if you go to the appointments to learn the proper ways to do them so that your loved one can continue to progress under your watch. It’s hard to provide this kind of care to a loved one, and it can feel frustrating when you don’t see a lot of progress right away, but just stick with it. All of your efforts in helping them to recover will bear fruit eventually.
Give Them Time To Communicate
Communication can be one of the most challenging issues after a stroke. Sometimes your loved one may understand exactly what they need, but will get easily frustrated if they cannot say the words or if the words come out more slowly. It’s important that you give them time. Don’t rush them.
Sometimes using a pen and paper or a keyboard to type can be more helpful. These tools should be used as part of their recovery process to aid them in communicating their needs. It may also help to create charts with food, drink, TV, sleep, and other basic needs they might have. You can show them the charts and have them indicate in a way that is appropriate for them what they need most.
Let Them Play Games
Smartphone games and brain games can be especially helpful to recover from a stroke. Let them try playing various games to stimulate their memory and cognition. You might even be able to play counting games and other simple games depending on the severity of the stroke. These games are an important part of training the brain to make these simple connections once again. By playing games, it improves their overall brain health which can lead to other noticeable positive changes after a stroke.
Prepare Herbal Teas
Chinese medicine uses tea all the time for medical remedies. The most common herbs are Panax ginseng and Dan Shen. The variety of ginseng used helps to boost cognition and helps the mind better process information. The Dan Shen can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease which is often an underlying issue when it comes to strokes. By treating the source of the disease, you can help your loved one reduce inflammation and other cofactors that are often present in stroke patients.
Add Ashwagandha Supplements
This Indian herb has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. Many people are using it to help manage stress and as part of a weight-loss plan. But for stroke patients, this herbal remedy can help them recover more effectively from it. The antioxidants in ashwagandha can help reduce inflammation, remove free-radicals, and break down things that can interfere with blood flow and lead to blood clots. These supplements are a great addition when you are helping your loved one recover from a stroke.