The effect of stroke on carers - new report from Stroke Association

Stroke Association warns stroke carers are under increasing pressure

Stroke Association research has found that one in five (19%) people caring for stroke survivors have not accessed any form of help after their lives were turned upside down overnight.

The charity also found that 40% of stroke carers who had been caring for more than three years report feeling exhausted and around 1 in 3 stressed or anxious.

Despite this, more than a third of people caring for stroke survivors receive no emotional support, with a devastating impact on their health and well-being.

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said:

“Lives change in an instant after a stroke. Overnight, a partner becomes an unpaid carer. We know that thousands of people all over the UK are dedicating their lives to caring for loved ones, whose speech, independence, emotional wellbeing or personality could be affected after a stroke.

“The number of stroke survivors is set to rise by almost one million people by 2035. So this problem is only set to get worse.”

There are currently over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK

Ann Turner, 66, from Ampthill, understands the pressures and concerns family members face when caring for someone who has had a stroke. She has been a carer for husband Les, 68, since 2010 following two major strokes, which left him unable to speak and move his right side.

Following his strokes, Les had to have three months of rehabilitation while in hospital, with Ann at his side, followed by months of physiotherapy which is still ongoing. Ann said:

“Our lives were turned upside down after Les had his two strokes. As well as major problems with speaking, Les has had to learn to do everything with his left hand so straight away he became reliant on me for everything he needed on a daily basis.”

“My main motivation has always been to keep Les in his own home rather than residential care, which we’ve been able to do. We have been married for 45 years, so of course I do everything I can for him – it’s just what you do for the person you love.”

While Ann is always on hand for everything Les may need, she has also learnt the importance of caring for herself too.

“What I’ve learnt from the experience is that as a carer, it’s so important to take care of yourself physically and mentally. I do exercise classes, walk to town and have coffee with a friend every other day and practice mindfulness. I’ve discovered that If you don’t look after yourself, how can you look after someone else?”

Stroke Association’s Lived Experience report

The Stroke Association’s Lived Experience Report is the UK’s largest ever survey of people affected by stroke with over 11,000 responses. The charity says that its report exposes the realities of living with stroke, such as:

  • Stroke carers are struggling to cope: almost half (47%) of the carers who did not have any support said that they were not offered any help, or did not know where to start
  • Stroke carers are feeling isolated: Over a quarter (27%) of carers said there were not enough support groups for them
  • Stroke carers are facing financial hardship: over a quarter (27%) of carers said they did not receive enough support on Carer’s Allowance/benefits

The Stroke Association provides support and information for people who have been affected by stroke. It provide carers with information on how to request a carer’s assessment. For more information visit www.stroke.org.uk.