How do I start to care for my father who just had a stroke?

Asked by

Three weeks ago my 60-year-old Dad (who lives alone) called 911 and went to the ICU with a severe stroke. He has just moved in on a one month lease at an assisted living facility.

He has recovered all of his left side movement and control, but still has severe field cuts and cannot see objects to the left. He also has perceptual problems (insists pictures that are upside down are rightside up, etc).

I was wondering what options there are for someone in my position. He is continuing to receive 9 hours a week of physical/occupational/speech therapy while in assisted living.

I do feel quite alone during this process, as I am in my mid-twenties, and just have my younger sister who is in college. As I said, my Dad is only 60 and fairly healthy. This took all of us by surprise.

Answers 1 to 5 of 5
Dear V, any time a beloved parent becomes suddenly ill throws us into a state of panic and apprehension. My Dad had a seizure today, and was relatively unresponsive (I thought he was a goner) but he recovered to some extent. While my story can't compare, I understand your state of shock and perplexity. And you are young and so alive! So sorry to hear about your Dad. Is 9 hours enough help for a stroke victim? Are you expected to pick up the rest of the slack? Didn't the Social Worker at the hospital help you with options before his discharge? Since he's receiving services, who provides them, and who monitors whether or not this is enough for him? I understand your feeling alone. It's so natural to feel that way. However, we cannot always trust our feelings. There are resources and help and supporting people everywhere, it's sometimes just a matter of finding the right one for your particular situation. I've been dogmatic and tenacious in searching every nook and cranny I can think of, and have been so blessed. It wasn't luck, but pure determination, and a lot of hard work. Google Senior and Community Services, talk to your Dad's Physician, get the phone book out and start making calls. I find if one thing doesn't work, I move on to the next. If I don't like an answer, I try till I find a suitable alternative. It has been time consuming, but profitable and worthwhile. The effort was painful at times, but the reward beyond my expectations. Ask God to show you the way, and He always does... Ask anyone who will listen lots of questions. Eventually you will find your way through the maize, and see how much you've grown. With God and with this site, you'll never be alone! Remember you are loved. Take care and don't forget to say that prayer: "Help, Lord, I need you!" and He'll be right there...
Thanks for your comment, Anne. I do feel better when I'm proactive about the situation and take the reins. I know that this is something that will be hard for all of us but hopefully will have some good results.

As I said above, the vision is his main issue, but I can notice marked improvement since the first few days. He does say that his missing left side vision is not going away though.

One thing I failed to mention, but after being with him the past few nights and doing a little research is the fact that his short term memory is really terrible. I will go across the hall from his room for a few minutes and when I return he will ask if I just got into town from where I live (1 hr away). This is by far the hardest part to see.

I've read how strokes that are not diagnosed quickly enough may cause early onset dementia, and I'm worried that his cognitive problems may actually get worse rather than improve. I know that he may have waited nearly five days since the onset of his first stroke symptoms to call 911.
Top Answer
You are a very responsible position for a young man your age, and your Dad is blessed to have you. Bravo! This won't be easy, but I commend you for being a good son. Our prayers are with you.
Your dad is a lucky guy and must have done a great job in raising you. I admire your faithful attitude. Nice. Sending you a warm felt hug. You are very wise to find supports.
Encourage him to stay in therapy. The therapy makes all the difference in the world.
My mom was only 55 when she had a severe stroke and was given up to die. But that was back in 1992 and she is still alive and well! I took her in when I was young. I don't regret a moment of it. Remember to always take care of yourself first. Continue your circle of friends. Keep a social life you are human too. You will make mistakes but that is okay. Get as much support from everyone that you can. Lose your pride and accept all help. Enjoy your dad and enjoy your life to the fullest. A bigggg hug for you.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support