What a Family Can Do

What a Family can do

Share Responsibilities

When my dad had a stroke, it happened to all of us, I helped my mom, and I was “sandwiched in” caring for my husband, our two kids, and my job as a paralegal!


  • Who will handle personal care; when?
  • Who will keep track of medications?
  • Record blood pressure, blodd sugar- report very high numbers?
  • Who will run the houshold? Shop; prepare meals?
  • Drive to doctors, therapists, ask questions?
  • Does the family and helpers know signs of a stroke and how to handle an emergency?
Finding Helpers

From families touched by stroke:

  • Start by asking friend and neighbors who may know someone they would recommend. Describe services needed, hours. Check references.
  • Home care agencies services, cost vary. College student, nurses, physical therapist can continue therapy. College employment offices post jobs.
  • Families hire off-duty paramedics. Personal care aides provide care and meal preparation.
  • Learn about Centers of Independent Living and their services.

When my aunt Edith had a stroke, I called the family together to see how we would help one of our own. The therapist checked Edit’s ability to move about, talk, cope emotionally, handle daily living. Could Edith remain in her home, not assisted living? We learned someone needs to be with her at all times.

Questions We Asked Ourselves

  • Is there enough money for people to care for Edith daily needs, now and the future?
  • How will our family share responsibilities?
  • When Medicare ends physical therapy and speech therapy, how will that be continued?
  • What is needed to make her home accessible, and safer to prevent injuries?

Personal care aides work hard, and the pay is minimum hourly wage, no matter what a Home Agency charges client. Lena Marche has been an aide for five years and shares her thoughts:

  • Treat an aid as you would want to be treated. An aid would like to know they are appreciated.
  • Be fair: An aide is hired to care for one person, not prepare meals, do laundry, chores for other family members.
  • An aide is not permitted to give medications, change sterile dressings, give injections, draw blood for tests. Only a licensed nurse may do this.

Sandy, a visiting nurse in England, shows Marta how to create her weekly schedule. Extreme fatigue is a challenge for everyone who has had a stroke. Learning to conserve your energy actually allows you to do more.

Benefits of having a plan

  • It brings structure to each day.
  • Builds confidence to reach greater independence.
  • Less stress- allows time to rest after activities, be on time for an appointment without feeling rushed.

Help needed Toolkit