It's human nature that you want to help your loved one.
The best advice I, as a family caregiver, can give here is let
them do it...whatever it may be! Do not help them unless
they ask for it. Of course, I am not talking about the
obvious help that's needed. Everybody is going to be
different. They have been affected differently.
If their paralysis is throughout their body, then you need to
help them get dressed. However, if they are able to move one
hand and arm, let them dress themselves. Let them feed
themselves. You may have to cut their meat, but that's it. Let
them put their salt and pepper on. Let them put the ketchup
on the hamburger or the steak sauce on the steak. It's very
easy to want to do it for them. In your mind you are helping
them. Don't take away all their independence. They need
what they have left, so they can keep stroking forward.
It might take you 30 seconds to walk from your front door
to your car, where it may take the stroke victim 5 minutes
to walk the same distance. Don't say hurry up and don't act
as though you are waiting for them. Just get in the car
and do something to keep yourself busy while waiting. You
can also do a "Columbo" turn around and go back in the
house for something. That helps, because they feel like they
are ahead of you and nobody is watching them. Whether they
are able to communicate with you or not, they already know
that they are moving slow. They don't need a reminder.
Don't let other people get "you", the family caregiver upset by
saying that the stroke victim should this and should that. You,
above anybody, knows what they should and shouldn't do. But,
don't forget, they are trying to help you, they just don't
understand. You as the caregiver, has a special relationship
with the survivor and you are their advocate, if they are unable
to speak. And being unable to speak or verbally communicate,
doesn't mean that their mind is gone. They can still think...they
have thoughts...they have feelings. They need to do things in
"their" time. And I say it again! In their time! This is also a
part of them salvaging their independence. Let them have that
freedom to stroke forward as they are able to. Don't rush or
push them forward. They know what they should and shouldn't
be doing. Let them do or do not!
And again, is it a slow process? Slower than I could ever have
imagined. We, that are caregivers to somebody that is dear to
us, somebody we care about and love. Don't get discouraged...don't
give up...don't let anybody tell you that your loved one can't go any
further. Don't let anybody tell you they should progress faster.
Don't be negative...don't lose your patience, walk away first
and come back later. And, if it sounds like they are hollering at you,
remember how frustrated they must be. Don't take it personal!
. . . TELL ME WHAT I DO NOT KNOW . . . .