When Men Take Care

Male caregivers report more positives in caring for stroke survivors



In a small study, male caregivers reported the ability to overcome problems during the first year of caring for stroke survivor wives/partners, according to research presented at the Nursing Symposium taking place during the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2017.

Stroke is a sudden event leaving the family to deal with new emotions and realities, said Linda L. Pierce, Ph.D., R.N., study lead author and professor at the University of Toledo in Ohio. Transitioning from a non-caregiver to caregiver role can prove challenging, particularly to men.

However, these men reported more successes than problems. “Their successes were building blocks in supporting their partners and, in most cases, the successes made their relationships stronger,” Pierce said.

In this analysis, researchers conducted bimonthly interviews asking about the problems and successes of 13 men (all white, average age 62) who cared for their partners (wife or longtime friend) in the first year after a stroke. Most men were employed full time and said they spent up to 16 hours each day giving care.

There were 275 problems and 393 successes in caregiving reported.

Five problem themes emerged and suggested that the men were struggling to maintain their prior lives:

  • Adjusting to multi-tasking in everyday living;
  • Recognizing physical and mental disabilities;
  • Dealing with outside forces and limited resources;
  • Struggling to return to normal; and
  • Feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.

“After a stroke, not only did the caregiver have to take over all tasks, such as cleaning, cooking and paying bills, he also had to care for his spouse,” Pierce said. “This left him struggling to balance former responsibilities at the same time he was learning to take on several new roles.”

Three success themes emerged that demonstrated how these men were able to find a level of well-being in their caregiving role:

  • Gaining confidence through functional improvement;
  • Fostering success through mutually positive attitudes; and
  • Resuming normal roles.

Many of the male caregivers said positive attitudes helped both the caregiver and the patient.

“One said that in giving so much care, he receives satisfaction at succeeding in caregiving and that he feels he has ‘grown as a person’,” Pierce said.

Another caregiver reported that his wife’s willingness and positive attitude made his job much easier and that he was supported by her more than he supported her.

“Caregivers should be encouraged to recognize both the strengths (successes) and weaknesses (problems) in their relationship caring for a spouse with stroke. They should focus on the successes as they pull together to meet life’s challenges, but also teach them what problems to report before small concerns become a crisis,” Pierce said.

Edit ModuleShow Tags


 


 

Stroke Connection. Download the free app today.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Departments

Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!