How do you balance your needs with your husband's needs?

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I don't mean medically. I mean emotionally. I need me time. He gets restless very quickly. He is in rehab now. Maybe it will get a bit easier when he gets home. He had a stroke. But his mind is good. Can communicate. But can't use one hand and fingers. Wants out of rehab. At least out of building. No one else to help me.

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Hadnuff: You, most definitely, are going to need some big time help, else you WILL BURN OUT!
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Yes, get the handicapped placard for your car. In my state, you get the application from DMV website or doctor/specialist. After patient/caregiver and doctor complete the form, you can take it to your state representative's neighborhood office for free expedited processing. Or mail it to the DMV, who will their sweet old time.
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Local churches sometimes have ministries within the church who will help, free of charge, to assist people in tough situations like yours. Even if you don't belong to a church, it doesn't hurt to call and inquire.
It sounds like your husband will need a lot of your time and your assistance, but please remember to take care of yourself, too.. It's not selfish to try to have some downtime after he's settled back at home. It's necessary. Otherwise, you will wear yourself out.
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I will echo my favorite things here: the beginning will be intense, just stick with it and know it will get better; and use as much help as is offered to you whether hubby likes it or not. Hang in there, you can do this!
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No one has mentioned depression which is very common after someone has a stroke. Talk to the Dr at rehab and see if he/she thinks and antidepressant may help our husband. it is important for him to make the most of rehab to get himself as improved as much as possible.
It is important to start as you plan to continue once he gets home and not tolerated bad behavior.
You are his wife not his slave so you need to establish boundaries and fulfill your own needs from day one. It is easy to feel sorry for a spouse who has suddenly become disabled but your role is to encourage him to do as much as possible for himself. Use as much help as is offered to you whether hubby likes it or not. This is the only way you will survive and be able to care for hubby at home.
This is a major life changing event for both of you and needs give and take on both sides. It may help you to talk to a therapist because your marriage has also suffered a major assault and it will take time to adjust. A lot depends on the quality of your marriage before the stroke.
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It is not easy, Hadnuff. And the first hours and days home from a care setting can be overwhelming. But you will get through it! The high priorities will rise to the top and you will learn what you can be less concerned about.

How do you balance your needs with your husband's needs? Well, in my experience, you tend to lean more toward his needs. His needs are greater, after all. Don't think you have to reach some arbitrary "balance" or should feel like a failure if you can't work out an "equal" arrangement. You probably vowed "for better or for worse" and this is the worse scenario. BUT you absolutely MUST recognize and honor your own needs, for me time, for health measures, for outside support. Maybe in terms of hours it isn't "even" or "fair" -- you may give him more; he needs more. But you cannot be a successful caregiver if you give you nothing.

Maybe for the first hours and days that he is home you have very little "me" time. That is OK. You can get by for short, intense periods like that. Within a short time you do need to start putting your own needs into the picture, too.
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Encourage him to stay in rehab as long as possible! Therapy IS SOO Important! The sooner he moves the better he moves. If he doesn't co operate he won't get better. Once he stops improving, he has to go home or into the 'long term care' section. Make the most of this time, encourage him to do the exercises, help him with them. it's all up to you two. Therapists aren't going to 'make him' do therapy. Only you can do that, you're gonna have to find your inner power to get him moving. or he never will.
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It got easier for me when my hubby came home. They set up a hospital bed, hoyer lift, wheelchair etc. Visiting Nurses sets up home care in my area, so they gave me 22 hours a week for homemaker services. S/he will do laundry, cook,clean, run errands etc. Help with bathing n dressing. While she is here I can do whatever I want, like go outside, leave, go anywhere..just go drive around for a while something will occur to you.
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Barbara, If you talk to your husband's doctor, you might find that technically he now is classified as a "shut in." That usually means that a person cannot go anywhere outside the home without substantial assistance. If he is a "shut in," you should be able to have a phlebotomist come to your house for his blood draws. Medicare should pay for this. Also, when you do have to transport your husband, you might find the parking situation easier if you have a handicapped permit. Your husband's doctor should be able to explain how to go about getting the permit.

Could you hire a professional caregiver to come in for a few hours to give you a break? The agency I spoke with quoted a rate of $22 to 25 per hour.

I'm so sorry that you and your husband are in this difficult situation.
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Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more. Then, when oxygen is flowing to your brain, get a piece of paper and a pen and write down what you can do for your husband and what you cannot do for your husband.

You cannot watch him like a hawk. You cannot spend your life watching him so that he does not fall. It's just not possible.

Meals are a big priority because the both of you need to eat and get your nutrients. Call the rehab center or his primary care doctor and ask to speak to a registered dietician (RD). Explain that you are not an expert on meals and that you need guidance. Prepare meals for the both of you and add things like salt, for example, to your portion. Your husband is more sedentary so he will need fewer calories, but he still needs nutrients as do you.

When my MIL was on coumadin, she also avoided foods rich in vitamin K:
Other Green Leafy Vegetables High in Vitamin K (%DV per cup, cooked): Frozen Kale (1433%), Frozen Spinach (1284%), Mustard Greens (1037%), Spinach (1111%), Collards (966%), Beet Greens (871%), Swiss Chard (716%), Turnip Greens (662%), Dandelion Greens (471%), and Broccoli Raab (272%). But that does not mean that you should avoid those foods because you probably would benefit from adding leafy greens to your diet as they are loaded with antioxidants and you are in a high stress situation.

Is there a geriatric home visit program in your community? Or a visiting nurse service?

Get a calendar for the refrigerator and enter all his appointments. Try and stay organized because it will give you a sense of power and you will feel more in control. And set aside "me time" for yourself on the calendar because you cannot keep your eyes on him 24/7.

Set a schedule for him. Wake up time. Breakfast time. Lunch time. Snack time. Dinner time. Bed time. He was on a schedule in rehab. What was it?

And if he falls because he didn't listen - like my MIL did too many times to count - know that it is not your fault. Who can help you pick him up were he to fall?
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