therapist for more ideas of what kind of movements might be helpful to strengthen his weak side.
•Food — Your children may help prepare snacks or simple meals, serve food or even plan a menu. (Of course, adult supervision is required, especially if your husband has limited mobility.)
•Reading — Your children can practice their skills by reading books or the newspaper to their father and having a conversation about what they read. Using props and pictures during the reading may be helpful.
Remind them to speak slowly and clearly. This may not only help rebuild your husband’s verbal comprehension skills but offers your children one-on-one time with him.
•Exercise — People who have had one stroke are at higher risk of having another, and exercise helps prevent strokes. Perhaps your children could take a walk with him, enjoy the park together or go swimming. (Again, check with your husband’s physical therapist for suggestions.)
Watch for signs that your children are having difficulties coping with the new situation. They may experience grief or feel cut-off from their friends. Self-isolating behaviors like spending more and more time alone in their rooms or refusing social invitation that they would normally accept, may be signs that they are feeling overwhelmed.
Exaggerated emotional responses to seemingly small disturbances or sleep disorders may also indicate that they need some help. Enlist the assistance of your children’s teachers and principal, who can watch for problems at school and provide support there.
In short, children need to be children — be sure that they get the attention they need. This may mean bringing in family, friends or professionals to help with your husband’s care so that you have more time for your children.
Let them see that dad is still dad, that they are still the children and you are still the parents and, perhaps most importantly, that both you and your husband are there for them.
MARLA BECK is the founder and president of Andelcare Inc., which provides in-home eldercare. She was named the U. S. Small Business Administration’s 2012 Washington state Small Business Person of the Year. Submit questions by calling (206) 838-1844 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.