The reconstruction of a family after stroke is hard on everyone involved, especially those family members who have direct contact with the stroke survivor on a day-to-day basis. These caregivers are usually the ones who go to work, clean the house, cook, and struggle to do all this while dealing with a family member who has changed in ways that are not always understandable. These are the people who are always there to help, but will never ask for help themselves. No one will blame if you can’t do it alone.
Keep the Door Open
African-Americans are very resistant, at times, to asking for and receiving help. There are many reasons for this resistance, but no reason is good enough if help is needed. Asking or inviting family and friends to be involved in the stroke survivor’s welfare is a start. This allows for more interactions among family and friends, which makes us closer as a community and family. It will also allow for the day-to-day caregiver to get a break. Everyone needs time to his or herself to run errands, keep appointments or just relax. The more people that can be brought in to help with the care of the stroke survivor, the more time will be available for the day-to-day caregivers to take care of themselves.
Keep your Faith
Many cultures have always believed in a higher power in this world. African-Americans are no exception to this. It is this belief that drives us to go on even when we feel like we cannot. It is during the recovery period that our faith must remain strong. Things happen to people that we simply do not understand, but the belief in our faith allows us, as African-Americans, to go on. We do not give up on our loved ones, family, friends, or ourselves because a disease or disability has stricken a part of us. Instead,we pull together as a family in faith to support, guide, and care for each other.
Pat Yourself on the Back
Of all the work people are doing to aid the recovery of the stroke survivor, do not forget to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you are doing. Caregivers need just as much support and encouragement as the stroke survivor. The work the caregiver puts into the recovery process is tremendous and should never be overlooked by doctors, therapist, friends, or family.
Caregivers are a unique group of people in their own right.
This is especially true of stroke caregivers. Caregivers of stroke patients do not have the luxury of time to decide whether or not they want to accept the role being demanded of them. In most cases, the decision to become a caregiver is made out of need rather then choice. This is especially true of cultures where strong family ties are one of the culturally-held beliefs. The beliefs we share as a culture lead us to look towards our families for support and help during times of crisis. In the case of an elderly family member becoming disabled by a stroke, the family will pull together to provide support to those family members that need it.
Never forget how important you are in the family’s life.
In becoming a caregiver, a decision was made to manage and care for someone who at the time cannot care for themselves. More than likely, this decision was forced upon you unexpectedly. You, as a caregiver, accepted this decision, have done the best that you can to continue on in life, and have helped others to do the same. That alone is an amazing testament to the strength of character and love of family you have. Your willingness to continue to do what you can for others truly makes you a blessed and special person in this world. Give yourself all the credit possible.