Suzi McLean's life was turned upside down when her husband Paul had a devastating stroke, at the age of 40. When Suzi realised something was wrong with Paul, she called the emergency services. He was rushed to hospital where he had a thrombectomy.
“When he came home from hospital a few weeks later, I didn’t know how we’d manage. I simply didn’t know what to do.”
“Initially, his right side was very weak. Both physically and emotionally, it was exhausting. I was trying to do a full-time job, and then care for Paul when I got home. Having to lift him left me with a very painful back. I’ll never forget sitting at the table for hours so Paul could eat his meals. I desperately wanted to have this normal part of our lives back. Only weeks before, Paul had been so full of life and fun, I never imagined I’d have to help feed him.”
“One of the hardest things to cope with was Paul’s aphasia, which initially left him without any speech. As time went on, he was able to say a few words, but his communication difficulties meant that he couldn’t find the right words or keep up with conversations. We wanted to chat together, but it was exhausting and upsetting for both of us. We decided to stop going to social occasions because Paul couldn’t be a part of it like he used to be. It just meant both of us ended up feeling really low and isolated. This made Christmas time especially hard.”
How did the Stroke Association help Suzi?
Through the charity, Suzi met other carers who were also finding their caring role difficult. It was very reassuring for her to know she wasn’t the only one. Having a network of people to share their stroke journey with made a massive difference.
She’s also found our Stroke Helpline really useful. Whenever she has a question related to stroke, whether it’s about financial matters or support, she’ll call our advisers.
"We wouldn’t have got through this without the support of the Stroke Association. They’ve helped us rebuild our lives."
Other ways we help carers
- Support groups give carers opportunities to get peer support and socialise, which can help to ease worries and isolation.
- Information and support, such as publications like ‘Stroke – a Carer’s guide’ and our online community, My Stroke Guide.
- Stroke Helpline Advisers can offer emotional and practical support.
- Stroke Association Support Coordinators help survivors and carers get the support, equipment and services they need.
Help Stroke survivors and their families rebuild their lives this Christmas
£100 could help to run a stroke club or group, meaning families won’t feel isolated this Christmas.
£25 could help answer difficult questions for carers by providing them with much-needed guides and information.
£10 could help a carer rebuild their life after stroke, giving them crucial access to emotional support this Christmas through our Helpline.
Funds raised will go towards vital services for stroke survivors across the UK.