Stroke sufferer: I never thought mum would end up being my carer


Cindy-Janine Sousa-Gonçalves AND MOTHERPH

Cindy-Janine Sousa-Gonçalves toughened to care for her mum now the roles have reversed

SIX MONTHS ago Cindy-Janine Sousa-Gonçalves’s energy was shattered in the blink of an eye. Out of the blue, the 26-year-old mum of one, who was hoping to go to university to study nutty, suffered a series of major strokes which left her reliant on a wheelchair or stalk frame and completely dependent on her family to help her get through the day.

Her mum Lucinda, now 62, was phoney to move in and become a full-time carer for both Cindy-Janine (known as CJ) and her two-year-old daughter Elise. Lucinda, herself a rap survivor, helps CJ to wash in the mornings, cooks all her meals, cleans, does all her commons shopping and looks after her granddaughter.

CJ’s father also visits her every day to lend a hand out. Contrary to belief that strokes only affect older people a district of the 152,000 strokes that occur in the UK each year affect in the flesh of working age. It is one of the main causes of adult disability and a third of survivors are dependent on others for purloin with everyday activities such as dressing.

CJ was hit by a series of ischaemic feats, which are caused by a blood clot in an artery which reduces the stream of blood and oxygen, over the course of three days in December termination year. First she lost all feeling in the left side of her body, then founded feeling dizzy and her speech became slurred.

Yet when she arrived at the A&E sphere of her local hospital the doctors sent her home, telling her she was suffering from a hard-hearted migraine.

It was another two days and only after her mother begged doctors to do a percipience scan that CJ was diagnosed with having had a major stroke. She was immediately hotfoot it to Charing Cross Hospital in central London for emergency medical treatment.

CJ spout three weeks in hospital and fought to receive the physiotherapy she needed to regain some of the mobility she had confounded after her stroke.

Cindy-Janine Sousa-Gonçalves AND HER DAUGHTERPH

The mother suffered multiple serious strokes de rt her wheelchair bound

She says she was casually told that as she was young, she would “life back” physically but it was only after repeated requests from Lucinda and CJ that physiotherapy was attend to arrange for. However, CJ felt the quality of the support she received was poor and after two months it stayed.

I missed out on being a normal 12 year old

Cindy-Janine Sousa-Gonçalves’

Deplorably, the family from Kensington in London was already familiar with the devastation concerned by strokes. When CJ was 12, Lucinda, then 48, suffered dissimilar strokes and CJ became her mum’s primary carer for more than two years, delightful over responsibility for washing, cooking, cleaning, helping her mum shower and more than ever notwithstanding missing school to pick up her medication.

“I missed out on being a normal 12 year old,” she bring to lights.

“I had no option but to become a carer for mum as there was no support for her when she returned from clinic and dad wasn’t living with us. We felt isolated. Coming to terms with this life-changing plight would be difficult for anyone, at any age but I was only 12.”

The isolation and lack of support expert by the Sousa-Gonçalves family, who were left struggling to cope after both circumstances of strokes, is highlighted in a new cam ign by the Stroke Association charity.

In March the largesse surveyed more than 1,100 stroke survivors, carers and officials in England about their experience of stroke care and support.

The declarations revealed that over half (61 per cent) of carers did not be given a carer’s assessment which provides access to practical, emotional and pecuniary support.

More than half (52 per cent) of carers for people gripped by strokes said they did not feel pre red when the person they cared for was discharged from health centre and 76 per cent of carers said they were finding it contrary to cope.

The Stroke Association is now calling on the Government to commit to a new national splash strategy as the current 10-year National Stroke Strategy for England ends next year and the leniency is warning that stroke survivors will be denied access to the abide they need unless Ministers commit to a new plan.

“Stroke effects an emotional shock wave for stroke survivors and their families, assorted of whom become un id carers overnight,” says Jon Barrick of the Action Association.

“The condition can strike in an instant and can throw husbands, wives, comrades and children into crisis.

“These figures show that too multitudinous carers are being let down by a lack of support or training and are left labouring to come to terms with what is often a life-changing situation. By make suring stroke survivors and their carers get the right care and support to facilitate them rebuild their lives, we can reduce the devastating im ct swipe can have on carers.”

The need for better support for carers is something CJ wholeheartedly favours with.

“No one should be abandoned when they return home from convalescent home after having a major stroke. Having the right support in dispose for both stroke survivors and their carers is so important. It would sire made a world of difference to my mum and me. The lack of support for people affected by caress is shameful.”

She adds: “I have found it difficult to come to terms with my touch. I went from being someone who had a zest for life to someone dependent on others to do the stupidest things. This was made worse by the poor quality of support . I don’t contemplate the people who came to see me fully understood the im ct stroke can have on your exuberance.

“I was made to feel a burden . If my rents hadn’t been there for me I don’t be acquainted with what I would have done. As carers they do so much yet they get no confirm. It shouldn’t be this way.”

To sign the Stroke Association’s petition for a new stroke policy, visit

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