My mother had a brain aneurysm rupture and two strokes in the same week. Her left side is paralyzed, she does not talk and has cognitive deficiencies. You can read her story here. I have included a list of helpful things that we have tried/used during her transition. A lot of trial, error and things we never even thought about until a specific moment came and we needed to revamp our process.
Here are a few:
1. A sign language book can be very helpful for basic needs with a stroke patient who suffers aphasia. My mother is able to type/write but sometimes it is faster if you are familiar with sign language. This book has good reviews and is basic enough to get you started. You could also gift one to other family members and have them become familiar with sets of words for your situation.
2. Toothpaste tops! I didn’t even think about this but with mom only having use of one hand, screwing the top back on a toothpaste tube is not happening. These worked for us. There are multiple types from different brands so play around and find your favorite.
3. Shoe laces are also not easily tieable when you only have use of one hand. We found these extremely helpful and saved time and frustration. They also look like they are tied. Tie-less shoelaces can look childish and for an older adult, even the simplest things that help confidence levels when learning a new normal and can heighten recovery and effort levels.
4. Easy open jars. Any jars that are easily opened and closed is a major feat. If your loved one isn’t able to hold the jar with one hand and open with the other, frustration can happen very easily. I also added some easy open devices. If your family member stays home alone, these items are extremely helpful. I put a few options in here depending on your situation.
Something like this would be easier to pop off/open with one hand or a few fingers.
5. Sweatpants with no strings/buttons. Maybe buttons are ok in your situation but they were not for us. Pants that have elastic saved time and were easy to pull on. I have the pair below and they are comfortable and also have the elastic bottom. I recommend this if your loved one has a weak side and/or drags a foot. The elastic bottoms also helps to reduce falls.
6. Puzzles have become my moms favorite thing. It gives her something to challenge her mind and also gives her a sense of pride when she finishes them. She has gotten faster so we have increased the puzzle difficulty level over time. The great thing about puzzles is they come in all sizes, styles, and price points. Family members can also help and together you can create something beautiful while spending time and helping heal.
7. Brain games, apps, and books are also a good choice. It gives your loved one a starting point on what the deficits are and where to start to grow the mind stronger. These had good reviews and many options depending on the situation.
8. Coloring books are always a good idea and very inexpensive. There are many options from very easy to more intricate and as your family member gets stronger, you can easily get a harder coloring book. I chose a few ‘less busy’ options because coloring should be relaxing and easy.
9. A shirt of pride. Once the healing begins, and a light at the end of the tunnel can be seen, humor can uplift and keep any survivor going. A shirt to show off accomplishments thus far can be a great ice breaker and teaching moment.
A needed extra…
10. Company. After the initial shock of figuring out a new normal, a lot of family and friends go back to their everyday lives. Sometimes leaving behind their loved one all alone. My mother talks about this happening. Now that she can’t do the same things she used too, no one invites her to do things, visits, or takes her places. Her ‘so-called’ friends do not come around and it’s heartbreaking for her. So go visit your family. Go out of your way and bring them their favorite coffee drink if you are in town. Write them a letter! Take them shopping or to get a hair cut. Whatever you think would help them out, go do it. It’s the little things that go the longest way.
Hope this helps! Reply in the comments with any other helpful tools you have found! Happy shopping! [mailerlite_form form_id=1]