If your partner suffers from a stroke, you as the caregiver can suffer health problems as well, according to a recent clinical study.

The caregiver has a higher risk of depression and emotional distress, especially if the two of you have different ideas about her progress after the stroke, researchers believe.

According to Michael McCarthy, a social work researcher at the University of Cincinnati and author of the study, care after a stroke needs to be not just for the patient, but for the spouse or partner as well. How well the spouse is doing after the strong is important as well, McCarthy says.

He noted that the spouse or partner needs a lot of care as well, and sometimes more psychological and mental health care than the patient herself. It is important to bring the spouse into the entire rehabilitation process. Each person’s care expectations have to be considered to get the best outcome for both people.

couple laugh

Both partners need support after stroke.

McCarthy’s study looked at 35 couples where the spouse had a stroke in the last 36 months. The spouse and patient each had separate interviews about the patient’s stroke recovery process. This included questions about how well they could do daily tasks, recall, and problem solving abilities after stroke.

Compared to the people who had the stroke, the spouses overall thought the stroke rehabilitation was too slow. This belief was strongly associated with depression in the partner or spouse.

So, for instance, if the husband had a stroke, and he thinks that he still should be able to drive but his wife disagrees, then that perception different can predict the emotional distress level for the wife, McCarthy found.

The study was able to capture and quantify the stress and worry that a caregiving spouse can deal with, and connect that to the patient outcome.

The study was released recently in the journal Aging & Mental Health.

Helpful Stroke Guides for Couples

If your spouse or partner had a recent stroke, you will have a lot of questions about what comes next. The Wright Stuff has the books, resources and videos to help you in this process:

100 Questions & Answers About Stroke


The Family Guide to Long Term Care


With the comprehensive information in these resources about stroke and long term care management, you should be able to manage the health and care of both of you more effectively.