Where to Get Help After a Stroke
Many kinds of help are available for people who have had strokes and their families and caregivers. Some of the most important are:
- Information about stroke: A good place to start is with the books and pamphlets available from national organizations that provide information on this subject. Many of their materials are available free of charge. A list of these organizations are under Additional Resources.
- Local stroke clubs or other support groups: These are groups where strokesurvivors and family members can share their experiences, help each other solve problems, and expand their social lives.
- Home health services: These are available from the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA), public health departments, hospital home care departments, and private home health agencies. Services may include nursing care, rehabilitation therapies, personal care (for example, help with bathing or dressing), respite care (staying with the stroke survivor so that the caregiver can take a vacation or short break), homemaker services, and other kinds of help.
- Meals on Wheels: Hot meals are delivered to the homes of people who cannot easily shop and cook.
- Adult day care: People who cannot be completely independent sometimes spend the day at an adult day care center. There they get meals, participate in social activities, and may also get some health care and rehabilitation services.
- Friendly Visitor (or other companion services): A paid or volunteer companion makes regular visits or phone calls to a person with disabilities.
- Transportation services: Most public transportation systems have buses that a person in a wheelchair can board. Some organizations and communities provide vans to take wheelchair users and others on errands such as shopping or doctor’s visits.
Many communities have service organizations that can help. Some free services may be available or fees may be on a “sliding scale” based on income. It takes some work to find out what services and payment arrangements are available. A good way to start is to ask the social workers in the hospital or rehabilitation program where the stroke survivor was treated. Also, talk to the local United Way or places of worship. Another good place to look is the Yellow Pages of the telephone book, under “Health Services,” “Home Health Care,” “Senior Citizen Services,” or “Social Service Organizations.” Just asking friends may turn up useful information. The more you ask, the more you will learn.Tags: Geriatrics, Social Issues, Sliding scale fees, Stroke, Caregiver