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Dad's 2nd Stroke
My 83 year old dad had a stroke in early February 2019. This is his second one, first was in 1997. He is home now, however my mom, who is also 83 is his primary caregiver. Eventhough my family as well as my brother's stop by daily or run errands for my mother, it is getting to be a bit too much.
I want to know if anyone else has had experience with a stroke victim that won't sleep throughout the night, he won't lay in his bed, he stays on the couch, so my mother sleeps (if she can) on the recliner in case he needs to go to the bathroom. Last night he was up a good bit of the night, looking for a flash light that he just knew he had . . .
We have talked to his dr for sleeping aids and/or antidepressants which they have prescribed, but he seems to always be anxious, angry, repeats himself, fixated on the time.
A couple of times when they had to leave the house, upon their return, he will not get out of the car, because he doesnt think he is home. He gets confused.
I should also mention that he has a feeding tube in for now, until he can learn to swallow again.
Has anyone else experienced these symptoms? If so, any advice on how to deal with them?
Any help would be appreciated.
AHAASAKatie, April 8, 2019 9:32am EST
I am so sorry that this experience is happening to your entire family, as it is a hard road at this time. Stroke effects so many parts of the brain and body. I am sharing what we have on the Effects of Stroke and our new Life After Stroke guide for your family. Thank you so much for coming to us and sharing this. Please know that we are here for all of you during this time. Best Katie
JamesPL, April 8, 2019 7:19pm EST
This is a difficult time and I'm sorry you and your family has to experience it. The only advice I can give you is for you and your siblings to do all you can to care and be there for him. I had a similar experience with my dad when he was very ill. My siblings and I all took turns visiting and caring for him. He had difficulty sleeping through the night also and needed help going to the bathroom. We took turns during the night helping him. There are five of us and only two lived near him. I had one brother who took a leave of absence from his job and spent a couple of months with him. I had another sister who is a college professor and has summers off so she too was able to spend considerable time. I lived about two hours drive time and would go there every weekend. I did this for about four months straight. My point is if you all pinch in and help, the burden is not as great. My mom had already passed at the time so my dad was soley dependent on us. In your case, all your help will be a great relief for your mom. You will get through this if you all pull together.
I wish you all well!
taurabarr, April 9, 2019 4:19pm EST
Hello, thank you for sharing your experience, I know how difficult this is physically and emotionally and the best advice I can give is to prepare for the long haul. My sister and I tried caring for my grandmother and we realized very quickly that the situation we had was not sustainable or safe for anyone. It was the hardest conversation I've ever had, but it opened up the conversation with my grandma and our family and helped us to figure out a long term plan to support my grandmother and my sister and I. We have a very small family with limited help.
So I'm sending you prayers and support as you figure out a long term solution that works for all of you. Stay connected to this community because it will be invaluable for you as you go down this road. You will definitely figure it out, and settle into a routine over time,
Wishing you all the best,
KimRN, April 15, 2019 11:47am EST
Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like your family is going through a really difficult time. There could be many explanations for your father's behavior. Psychologically, he may be depressed. He may have a component of vascular dementia setting in. The location of the stroke could have something to do with his behavior and sleep patterns. Those should be explored by a practitioner, although regardless of the cause there are some things that have helped my grandfather who suffered a stroke and similar behaviors after.
He became depressed because he could no longer process information, communicate, and interact with people as he could before. He was previously a very active and social person and after the stroke he became sedentary, which disrupted his sleep cycle.
I would suggest slowly introducing your father to time outdoors. That could improve his mood. Social interactions on a small scale could help. Staying awake during the day may ensure proper sleep at night. Try not to expect drastic changes, and set realistic expectations.
It's wonderful to hear your family is so supportive and present, that likely has helped him in ways you cannot imagine. Encoruage your mother to set time aside for herself as well. I'm sure you have heard the phrase "take care of yourself before you take care of others" and this is very important to do.WebMD has great information on caregiver burnout: https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/caregiver-recognizing-burnout#1 Additionally, the AHA resources listed below by AHAASAKatie are excellent and may apply to your family.
I wish you and your family health and wellness. Your story is greatly appreciated and it is comforting to know others have well wishes for our struggles.