Roger had a stroke a couple months ago. He successfully completed a rigorous and difficult rehabilitation cycle. He was very fortunate in that it was a mild stroke but he did have some residual mobility challenges including that he has trouble standing for too long and his left leg is weak. He also has a bit of a remaining speech challenge. He is being released to go home in the next couple days and he is very excited to get to his own home.

Esther, his wife, is home waiting for him with arms wide open. She has been able to visit him often and participate in some of the rehab appointments so she can support him when he gets home. She can’t recall the last time they spent this much time apart.

Sandy their daughter has been making sure that they could see each other for lengthy visits, while he was recovering. She knew it would be important for their mental health to be in touch throughout his recovery and keeping his attitude optimistic and positive was a priority for his healing process. He was frustrated with the rehab work, but remarkably his outlook remains positive.

Sandy had to jump in and assist post stroke, assuming the role of caregiver, for both parents. She found Esther was independent and wasn’t about to let this get her down but there were tasks around the home that Roger had done for her, and Sandy filled in with those tasks and did a few extra to help her mom. Sandy’s friend had mentioned that their family utilized assistance from an Aging Life Care Manager®, also known as a Geriatric Care Manager, for her parents, and gave Sandy our information. She reached out and we had discussion about her parents’ current situation and she asked me to attend the discharge meeting with her and her parents at the rehab facility. I knew the social worker at the rehab facility and she greeted me right away saying that she was happy that I was involved in the discharge meeting. She stated that the staff had become very fond of Roger and were excited that he could go home but they were going to miss his infectious energy. We discussed his progress and his remaining needs. I would be able to arrange in home physical therapy to continue for him and would have him meet with an occupational therapist, who could help assess speech therapy and other needs he might have. We would get those set up and make sure that his care continued. The rehab team was happy with the plan.

I met with Sandy and her mom separately to discuss a plan for how things could be set up at home to make Esther’s life easier. Esther is healthy, but not as physically strong as she once was. Roger did most of the heavy lifting around their home. We discussed what they thought life was going to be like once Roger was home. Sandy and Esther talked about what would need to be done around the house, shopping, care for Roger when Esther was needing to leave home, and transportation for appointments. They check the house to make sure it was ready for his return, removing any clutter that would get in the way of his walker and moving a few pieces of furniture to make it easier for him to get around. We looked at the safety elements in the bathroom and kitchen and talked about what could be done. Esther asked me if I could refer someone to help with those items and I told her I knew a couple of companies and would check with them about cost and timelines.

Sandy had been worried about how things would go when her dad came home but she knew now that we could get some things done to help them and be there as they needed. She thought she was going to have to be a caregiver for all their needs and she was willing to do so because of her sense of duty. She was relieved that she could take on just the amount she could handle, and she could ask us to help with any challenges.

Another key part of the work that we did for them was to provide respite care, both for Sandy, and for Esther. Respite care is when someone helps care for Roger while they need to be away, or they need a break from caregiving. This is a very important piece of being a caregiver as it gives you the chance to rest and reenergize.

If you are facing a challenge with family care, please lease give us a call at 610-667-2838 or email us at CareManagement@waverlyheights.org and we’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss care options.