Marina Bastawrous today told the Canadian Stroke Congress that caring for a parent who has experienced a stroke results in a dramatic shift from the usual parent-child relationship.
"Stroke can be particularly challenging for families," says Bastawrous, a masters candidate at the University of Toronto.
"Taking care of elderly parents can bring out family strengths and family weaknesses."
The study said that although a parent-child bond can result in excellent care but strained relationships before or following the stroke increases depression in daughters.
The study found that adult daughters placed greater importance on family relationships than sons and, in turn, were more negatively impacted by poor relationships with their parent.
"When a parent has a stroke, adult children often become their primary caregivers," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Michael Hill.
"It's important that as part of the recovery process we examine their experiences because they are obviously vital to the ongoing care of the stroke patient."
Study co-author Dr. Jill Cameron says that stroke care interventions are overwhelmingly designed for spouses and yet, 62 percent of stroke caregivers are adult children.
"We need to make better use of financial resources to enhance the support provided to this growing population of caregivers.
"They aren't trained but their role is essential."
Cameron suggests creating work environments that support family members caring for stroke survivors and says that caregivers should be recognized as members of the care team.
"Family caregivers are critical to stroke recovery and typically assume major care roles that are frequently costly to their financial, social, and emotional well-being," says Dr. Antoine Hakim, spokesperson for the Canadian Stroke Network.