3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Psychological issues

Psychological issues

16) Becoming over dependent

After a stroke most people will try hard to regain as much independence as they can, however there are those who have very negative thoughts about what they can do and what they find hard to do. If this situation continues the person may start to learn to become more dependent on you as the carer. They start to feel they have little control to change or make a difference to life. They become more submissive and less motivated to attempt tasks even though they may still be able to complete the task for themselves. Habits set in which once established are hard to break. Strict routines tend to reinforce the habit.

By encouraging the person to be as independent as possible and giving them choices you can avoid this happening. Equally some carers find it is hard not to do more for the person they are caring for. Even the best of intentions can reinforce the learned helplessness. It may be quicker or less fuss to do the task for the person but it then becomes more difficult for them to change. All the extra tasks you have been doing may start to wear you out both physically and emotionally. Some carers worry about what others will think when they see the person struggling and you are not helping. Remember, they are not you and they may not be aware of what the person is really capable of.