Stroke Rehab: Fear of Going Home Following a Stroke
What can a senior do when they have fear of going home following a stroke?
The Medical Journey of a Stroke Patient
Senior patients who have experienced a stroke, receive care in the hospital for their emergency care.
Many seniors opt for continuing that care in a post-acute rehab setting. In a post-acute rehab environment such as Royal Suites, a patient receives top notch care. There are medical staff on hand, and a patient has an individualized plan for their care.
Some patients continue on to long-term skilled nursing care. There, all their needs are met in a high-quality service setting.
Patients who are in a relatively better state of health can choose to go home. True, they may not have the same level of function that they enjoyed before the stroke. But home is where the heart is and there is nothing like being in your own home.
So, how does a person feel at that point?
Probably the senior feels happiness mixed with fear. On the one hand they want to be at home. And on the other hand, who knows what will follow when they going home following a stroke.
Fear is a healthy feeling when under control
Feeling fear is quite scary for many of us. Yet, we can look at fear as a helpful tool. When we are aware of a danger, we can take precautions. In that way fear actually helps us stay alive.
A person who is afraid becomes more alert and takes care to be prepared as best as possible for the risk they face.
Fears Balanced with Sensible Precautions
Let’s look at a few fears that stroke survivors going home following a stroke might have.
What are the precautions that a senior might take in answer to those fears?
Common Fear: Fear that a stroke might happen again.
- Take healthy precautions to avoid a second stroke. These include taking any medicine you were prescribed and keeping to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Read about Nicole Entead who overcome her fear of having another stroke.
- A study found that many people felt regular feelings of fear and anxiety, that were not necessarily based on medical cause. A person can adapt tools that are available to deal with regular fears and phobias.
Common Fear: Fear of Falling
Possible Precaution/Response: Getting practical helps with this issue.
- Find out about balance training. Studies have shown it is helpful in conjunction with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
- Interestingly, another study found that fear of falling following stroke was predominant in certain people. They found three criteria mattered: “poor postural control”, use of a walking support, being female. Perhaps strength training can help for the postural issue.
- Take part in traditional physiotherapy.
Common Fear: Fear of yourself, as affected by the acquired disability.
Possible Precaution/Response: So, there are changes that might happen to a person following stroke.
- Emotional changes
- Physical changes
- Some of the personality changes can get better with time. Permanent physical disability, of course, will change a person’s life. A person might have to do physical therapy to improve or even to maintain their physical mobility. However, emotionally, a person can work on loving themselves in spite of how they function differently than before. Accepting oneself can lead to a huge amount of personal enrichment. People talk about embracing a new self and the liberation it can give a person.
Common Fear: Fear of being incapacitated and ending up in a nursing home
Possible Precaution/Response: If a person is aware enough of their position to have this fear, it means that are not doing that badly. A person can do:
- Mental exercises
- Use technology wherever possible. There are helpful people and many apps and programs for this.
- Understanding oneself, yet encouraging oneself to improve as much as possible under the circumstances can help to keep the brain healthy.
- If a person does need a nursing home, it should be a well-thought-out decision. A person can make a positive, informed choice as to the matter. Choosing a skilled nursing facility at the top of the range, would ensure good care.
Common Fear: Fear of being alone and of abandonment by friends and family.
- Read an interesting exchange between people regarding evolving feelings about being alone and anxiety on EnableMe.
- Technically, this is called autophobia. But in the case of a stoke survivor, it is probably related to a fear of danger to health or repeated stroke. The answer is to make friends. Join social circles or people in a similar situation. Gain acceptance and understanding that way. Ask volunteers to stop by and visit you.
- Learn up about ways to give, in order to attract people to your environment. For example, there is an inspiring person who was widowed. She chose to open a library in her home. People borrow books and come to chat, so, she is rarely alone.
- Family, you can’t choose. Before the fact, it is best to develop a most beautiful and loving relationship with everyone in your family. But as we all know, that is not always possible. Before the fact and after the fact, be as loving as you can when you have energy for that. Project feelings of generosity in your heart and it will bounce of the hearts of your family members.
What Can a Person Do with Feelings?
Try to be open with feeling such as fears. Take the opportunity to talk to the doctor. Mention it to the family. As the saying goes “a problem shared, is a problem halved” and it is so true. Talking out the issues can help to ease the level of concern.
Additionally, the National Stroke Association points out the strength a person can acquire by adopting a positive attitude. It makes it easier to find ways to overcome difficulties that a person faces.
Most of us aren’t able to ‘adopt a positive attitude’ in one day. It takes time and effort. But the rewards of doing so, for someone who is going home following a stroke, are endless.
Going home following a stroke can be a great challenge. Trying to see the flowers among the weeds is part of that positive attitude. Wishing you the best of health!
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay
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