Elder Care Following a Stroke

Author: Amanda Woodward

| Published on: February,24 | Viewed: 2338 times


A stroke can turn your life upside down, and affect friends and family as well. Hospital stays after a stroke are short - just four days on average. Most stroke patients return home and about half are discharged directly home after they’ve been hospitalized.  

But that can cause problems. With such a short amount of time in the hospital, there is little opportunity to get the information you need to know for your recovery.  You are generally not in a position to absorb information anyway and don’t yet understand just what help you’ll need when you return home.  

In an ongoing study on care transitions post stroke, patients and caregivers discussed in focus groups the many unexpected challenges they faced when they got home. It was clear that in the hospital they just didn’t know what they didn’t know.

The transition home is particularly challenging because patients and caregivers are not aware of or don’t have access to community and medical resources. As a result, about 20% of stroke patients who are discharged and sent home end up back in the hospital or in a rehab facility within 30 days. And up to half of all informal caregivers of stroke patients have health problems themselves as a result of the stress of providing care.

Going to a senior community that can provide rehabilitation services for a period of time after hospitalization is one option that might help ease the transition home. About a quarter of stroke patients are discharged to a rehabilitation facility first.

What can going to a senior community do for me?

It can keep you safe. Strokes affect everyone differently, but common problems include weakness, paralysis and speech problems, problems with balance or coordination, pain or numbness, problems with memory or thinking, and tiredness. Going to a senior community gives you time to address these issues so that you will be less likely to fall or have other problems when you return home.  It also gives you time to make modifications to your home that may be needed for your safety.

It can give you time. About one out of four of the 800,000 strokes in the U.S. are experienced by someone who has had a stroke before. Second strokes can be prevented with medical interventions and changes in lifestyle. Going to a senior community for rehabilitation gives you and your family time to learn how to prevent a second stroke, manage post-stroke disabilities and medications, and set up the services for when you get home.

Research has consistently found that earlier and more aggressive therapy is better for long-term stroke recovery. That means starting therapy earlier and moving to more difficult activities as quickly as possible. This can often be accomplished more easily in a rehabilitation program at an elder care community than at home. On-staff caregivers provide all the care that stroke sufferers need to be supported as they rehabilitate, while providing families peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are taken care of.

For more information about stroke recovery visit the National Stroke Association and the American Stroke Association websites.


Seniorly has dozens of assisted living communities on their platform offering short term stays and services to ease your transition home after a stroke.

Visit www.seniorly.com or call us at (415) 570-4370 to speak to one of our family coordinators today!

About Amanda Woodward

Amanda Toler Woodward, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. She does research on services and supports for older adults including racial and ethnic disparities in access to services and international comparisons of service systems. She writes about a wide range of topics related to aging research, social work, academia, and whatever else catches her fancy at www.amandatolerwoodward.com

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