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Kinds of caring

Caring for someone who has had a stroke

When someone close to you has a stroke, they may need extra help and support during their recovery, which often continues after they return home.

"Start by reading as much as possible about the condition so that you know how best to take care of that person," says Janine Bennett of the Stroke Association.

If they will need a lot of support, their needs will be assessed and a care plan drawn up before they leave hospital.

As the person responsible for their day-to-day care, you're entitled to a carer's assessment from your local authority.

Remember, you're not alone and there's a lot of help and information available to support you in your new role as a carer.

For more information about the support and benefits you may be entitled to, call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.

Carer's assessment

You can ask for a carer's assessment if the person you care for is eligible for help from social services, regardless of whether they're actually receiving help.

Once your needs have been assessed, by law you can receive services to support you in your caring role and help you maintain your own health and wellbeing.

The services available to help you as a carer will vary, but they can include help with driving lessons or sourcing mobility aids.

Local authorities can issue vouchers for services to enable carers to take short breaks from caring.

Before your assessment, think carefully about what kind of support you and the person you care for need.

Read more about carers' assessments or contact your local carers' centre.

Keep a diary

The Stroke Association advises you to keep a diary for a week to record the daily needs of the person you care for and the caring tasks that you do.

Write down the things that you think would help the person you care for become more independent, such as equipment or help with transport.

Work and caring

If you're working, you may consider stopping work to care for someone. But this isn't your only option. Giving up your job will mean a drop in income and less social contact outside the home.

Caring for someone is likely to involve additional costs, such as contributions towards their support services or home alterations.

Depending on your circumstances, you could consider reducing the number of hours you work, or perhaps you could find a job closer to home.

If you decide to become a full-time carer, you may be entitled to Carer's Allowance, depending on the financial benefits that the person you care for receives.

The benefits system is complex and it's a good idea to get specialist advice about what you're entitled to and how to fill in any claim forms. The Care, finance and the law section of this website, stroke charities and carers' organisations can all help.

Take care of yourself

As a carer, your wellbeing is important, for you as well as for the person you care for.
"Carers get very tired," says Bennett. "They don't sleep enough, they may do a lot of driving around, lifting and cooking, which can all take its toll.

"The combination of psychological and physical tiredness can push people to the limits of their patience."

Tiredness and depression may become bigger problems. Taking regular breaks and having time to yourself is crucial. This may be a few hours every day or more formal respite care (short breaks from caring).

Try to organise the day so that you have at least a little time to yourself. Ask family or friends for help with specific tasks. Respite care can be:

  • care in the home from a trained assistant,
  • care outside the home, such as at a day centre, or 
  • longer breaks, from a few days to a couple of weeks.

If the person needing care is eligible for NHS respite care, it's usually free. Other respite care services may charge or ask you to contribute towards the costs.

A local carers' support worker or Carers' Centre can offer advice, information and practical support.

You can find services for carers in Care and support or by contacting the Stroke Helpline, your local social services, your GP or the hospital where the person you care for was treated.


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Page last reviewed: 11/12/2013

Next review due: 11/12/2015

Call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053

Confidential information and advice for carers.

Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 11am to 4pm at weekends. Request a free call back or an interpreted call back in one of more than 170 languages including ربي, বাংলা, 中文, Français, ગુજરાતી, Polski, Português, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Soomaali, Español, Türkçe and .اردو.

You can talk to an adviser live online or send a query by email.

Find out more about the Carers Direct helpline.

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Someone has a stroke every five minutes in the UK, and strokes are the third most common cause of death. The cause varies from person to person but it's important to know what your personal risk factors are.

Media last reviewed: 14/11/2013

Next review due: 14/11/2015