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American Stroke Foundation

Caregiver ResourcesNavigating Role Changes as a Caregiver Post-Stroke

Navigating Role Changes as a Caregiver Post-Stroke

This video will help caregivers understand the impact of role changes post-stroke on family dynamics and relationships and offer ways to address these role changes appropriately and constructively.

Child-Parent Role Shifts

  • Role reversals are taxing on child-parent relationships
  • Authority shift
  • Lack of proper supports
  • “Sandwich Generation” caregiving

Adult Children Caregiver Tips

  • Practice compassion in this role
  • Recognize and validate your loved one’s feelings
  • Focus on the positives
  • Create support systems

How to Establish Healthy Roles

  • Honest conversations
  • Meet your own needs and learn to say “no” or ask for help
  • Have a deep respect for one another
  • Take good care of yourself
  • Avoid secrets and guilt trips

Spousal/Partner Role Shifts

  • Shift in homemaking responsibilities
  • Changing who manages finances
  • Sexuality and intimacy issues
  • Marital issues arise
  • Short term relationships (<5 years) are jeopardized
  • Spouses feel like they are living with a “stranger”
  • Cognitive and behavioral issues

The Relationship of Marriage Post-Stroke

  • Marriage is one of the greatest predictors of health and longevity
  • Have patience
  • Compatible role changes are shaped by marital communication
  • Intimacy may change, but it is not lost

How To Establish Healthy Roles

  • Embrace the role changes
  • Communicate effectively
  • Ask for help
  • Take time for yourself
  • Continue to grow in your marriage and relationship

Parents as Caregivers of Adult Children Post-Stroke

  • An under researched population
  • Becoming increasingly more common
  • Strong existential component

How To Establish Healthy Roles

  • Treat your children as adults
    • Loss of autonomy at a young age
    • Loss of job, family, home, etc.
  • Honest and open conversations
  • Avoid reverting to old roles (parent v. child dynamic)
  • Create a mutual enjoyment
  • Create spaces for yourself and your child

Family Role Changes Can Lead to Family Conflict

Family conflict/dysfunction is common due to discrepancy between expectations of family members.

General Tips to Diffuse Conflict

  • Identify the issue
  • Be honest
  • Use “I” statements
  • Value everyone’s ideas and opinions
  • Consider counseling
  • Share responsibility

Wrap Up

  • Change is HARD
  • Ask for assistance and guidance
  • Take care of yourself
  • Appreciate yourself

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