(HealthDay News) — Caring for a loved one after a stroke can be difficult, but with the right information and preparation, you can keep your loved one safe, the American Stroke Association says.

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The association offers this advice for caregivers:

  • Be aware of the person’s medications and side effects.
  • Determine if the home should be modified to meet the needs of the stroke survivor.
  • Make sure the person eats a healthy diet, exercises, takes medication as prescribed and visits the doctor regularly.
  • Many factors influence recovery, such as where in the brain the stroke occurred, how much of the brain was affected, the survivor’s motivation, caregiver support, the amount and quality of rehabilitation and the survivor’s health before the stroke.
  • The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first four months after a stroke. Some survivors continue to recover well into the second year.
  • Consider physical or occupational therapy if the loved one is dizzy, imbalanced or is unable to walk six minutes without stopping to rest.
  • Don’t ignore falls. Take your loved one to the ER if a fall is serious and results in severe pain, bruising or bleeding. If your loved one has minor falls more than twice within six months, see a doctor.
  • Monitor changes in attitude and behavior. Evaluate whether your loved one is having a hard time controlling emotions.
  • Post-stroke depression is common, with as many half of stroke survivors depressed.
  • Be familiar with your loved one’s insurance coverage
  • Be aware of your rights as a caregiver, including access to your loved one’s medical and rehabilitation records.
  • Always take time to care for yourself. Ask friends and family for help.

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