On April 30th’s International Guide Dog Day, it’s a good time to take a closer look at guide dogs. Your dad had a stroke. You’ve wondered if a guide dog would be helpful.
It’s important to understand the different types of canine helpers. A guide dog is one that helps guide someone with vision impairment. Hearing dogs help those who are deaf. Service dogs cover many other needs like assistance when the handler is in a wheelchair, help with support and balance, etc.
After a stroke, a guide dog can be incredibly helpful in some situations. There are pros and cons. You’ll spend a lot of time filling out application forms and go through interviews. Your dad isn’t going to sign up and instantly get a dog. The dog has to be matched to him. If it’s something that interests you, here’s a general guide into the process.
Submit an Application
Your dad needs to have reached the maximum possible improvement. This is usually a year after his stroke. He needs to go through therapy sessions to relearn movement, speech, and other functions he lost after the stroke. He may never fully recover, but there needs to be a general sense of where he stands after rehab so that he’s paired with the right service dog.
That application will require notes from the doctors and therapists. It needs to paint a full picture of what your dad can do and where the dog will be able to help. If your dad can walk, but his eyesight was impaired, he’ll need a guide dog. If he has a hard time with mobility, a service dog that can offer some guidance and support to help with fall prevention is ideal.
Once Your Dad’s Approved
If your dad is approved, the next step is to match him to the right dog. Once that happens, he’ll travel to the foundation and go through training to learn how to work with the dog. Your dad needs to learn how the dog will help him and that means learning the commands and hand signals.
The dog also needs time to get to know and understand your father. This process may not go smoothly at first. Don’t despair if things don’t go as you’d hope. With time, you’ll see improvements. Soon, your dad and his service dog will work like a team.
Caregivers Do the Same Things
A service dog may not be the best idea for your dad. A caregiver may be a better idea. You and your dad discuss and set a schedule of at-home care where a caregiver comes to his home and helps with everything from ambulation to housework and personal care to meals.
After a stroke, he won’t be driving for a while if he ever can again. Caregivers can drive him. They can pick up his groceries and prescriptions. They offer companionship, too.
If you or someone you know needs help with a Caregiver in Rockford, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.
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