by United Concordia, May 2023 Newsletter
If you are the caregiver, family member or friend of a stroke survivor, your role is vital. For stroke survivors, diet and exercise are important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and prioritizing oral health can also help promote whole-body health. With a committed health care team and rehabilitation plan, most stroke survivors can prevent another stroke and thrive. Here are a few tips to help you care for your loved one:
1. Help them establish a healthy routine. Survivors are at high risk of having another stroke. Make sure your loved one eats a nutritious diet, maintains good oral hygiene, exercises, takes medications as prescribed and continues to see their primary care physician, dentist and optometrist annually to maintain their health.
2. Modify their oral health routine. After experiencing a stroke, survivors may experience dexterity problems that can prevent them from properly caring for their teeth and gums. Caregivers can help them brush, rinse, floss or even use a flossing alternative, such as a pre-threaded flosser, interdental brush or dental pick.
3. Monitor their physical well-being. Caregivers should consider assistance from a physical or occupational therapist if their loved one has dizziness; imbalance that results in falls; difficulty walking or moving around daily; or the inability to participate in or complete daily activities.
4. Don’t ignore falls. Falls after stroke are common. If a fall is serious and results in severe pain, bruising or bleeding, take your loved one to the emergency room. Take note if your loved one has two or more minor falls within a six-month period and schedule an appointment with their physician or physical therapist for treatment.
5. Learn the ins and outs of their insurance coverage. Consult with your loved one’s health care provider or insurance company to find out how long insurance will cover medical and rehabilitation services and to determine out-of-pocket expenses. This can vary substantially from one case to another.
6. Seek support. Community resources, such as stroke survivor and caregiver support groups, are available for you and your loved one.
We also encourage you to check out our Smile for Health® –Wellness program – which offers enhanced dental insurance coverage for eligible stroke survivors who may be more susceptible to dental problems due to physical challenges that can make it harder to keep up with oral hygiene routines.