Owners' Blog

Is Aging at Home a Realistic Goal When a Parent Had a Stroke?

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Your dad's goal was always to age at home. He said he never wanted to move. You know that caregivers can help him achieve those goals. What happens if he had a stroke? Is aging at home still a realistic goal?

Is His Home Accessible?

The severity of a stroke determines how well your dad will live in his home. Start with the very basics. Is the house designed for a wheelchair? If his home has multiple stories, he may need a stair lift to get from one floor to the next. He's going to need ramps to get in and out of the house if the entrance door is not ground level. Are his doorways wide enough to allow the wheelchair to get through?

If his home is going to need a lot of renovations to make it wheelchair accessible, it may be more realistic to move. Renovations take time and can cost a lot of money. If he has to wait a few months for renovations to be complete, he would have to find somewhere else to live.

What Help is Needed?

After a stroke, your dad will undergo physical therapy. He's likely going to need to learn how to talk, swallow, and walk again. Some of those skills may never return.

  • Most stroke patients get tired easily. Getting the housework done isn't going to be a priority. Caregivers can help your dad with things like laundry, cleaning a kitchen, or vacuuming carpets. He'll need help with meal preparation, and he may need someone to feed him while he's regaining use of his hand and arm.
  • Your dad may become incontinent and need to wear incontinence briefs. They will need to be changed regularly. Many stroke victims need help with showers and cleaning his body.
  • After a stroke, some people have seizures. If this happens with your dad, you'll need to learn how to help him through a seizure. Sleep disorders can also set in. He may deal with insomnia and be awake when you're trying to sleep.
  • Vision is often affected. Your dad's doctor will probably tell him to stop driving. He's going to need someone to drive him to medical offices, stores, and other places that are too far to walk to.
  • In addition to physical changes, your dad is going to have changed emotionally. First, he knows what happened and it may lead to depression. Second, the stroke may have affected areas of the brain that control emotions. He may get anxious, angry, or frustrated very easily. He may randomly burst into laughter or tears at inappropriate times.

If his house is suitable for post-stroke living, create a list of the things your dad cannot do. Talk to his doctor to see if there are things you are overlooking. Once you have all of that information, call a home care agency. See if the services available in his area will allow him to age at home with the help of caregivers.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Snellville, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.