Unsure if I can care for someone

My friend and housemate had a stroke on Thursday which has left her unable to use her right arm/leg.

We’ve shared a house for 5 years and become friends, but officially I’m her landlady and I don’t know if I am able, physically or mentally, to care for her. I work full time, and although most days I work from home, I cannot afford to not work or reduce my hours.

I’m so scared she’s going to come home and I’ll have no idea how to help, or will make it worse, or if this is even the best place for her to live. I hope this doesn’t make me sound selfish but I’m in such a panic about what’s going to happen.

She loves living here, we get along so well. It never occurred to us that she wouldn’t keep living here for years to come until this has happened. We’re both in our early 50s and had so many plans. We used to travel together, go to shows and events, we shared all the housework and gardening. We lived like an old married couple, except we’re just friends. It would break her heart if she can’t stay here, and the thought of doing that to her is just more than I can bare. I don’t know what to do.

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@JoMorgz welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear about your friends stroke.

Please don’t think you are being selfish. Caring for someone is really difficult and is not for everyone. Caring for family is hard enough but it is very rare for friends to be carers. In my view it is better to be up front and honest about this as to not be may breed resentment later down the line.

Do you know what level of care she will need? She should have a care assessment done if she will need help when coming home. When she has that done you / she need to make it clear that you are not in a position to care for her. Depending on the level she has been affected she might be able to manage with very little input.

Stroke is a life changing event and you both might have to face the prospect that the living situation will have to change. You can still be a great friend to her though.

Sending best wishes to you both.

Ann xx

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Hi Jomorgz
You did the right thing asking here I’m sure there are many friends here who have been in your situation.Have you got a local support Group near you ? It’s a big decision you’ll have to make is there anyone you can ask for advice or support? Your health and well-being are vital at this time. Take care. You and your companion are in out thoughts

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It’s very good of you to be here and to seek out information but you are right, caring for your friend will be very very hard even if her needs are not too great. Also she may decide that she does not wish to continue to live in your shared house, YES, she had planned to share lots of things with you and to do x-y and z but she hadn’t planned on having a stroke and may well need a different environment now. I hope that you can work together on what you BOTH need

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First of all, your not selfish to feel the way you’re feeling. I think most of us would be fearful of the situation. Secondly, it’s way too early to be worrying about it. I was paralyzed on my left side, but with physical and occupational therapy, I was able to come home and function well by myself with a walker, tub transfer for baths (with hubby standing near at first), and toilet surround. He took care of the meals and cleaning. Therapy continued for several months. After a few weeks I didn’t need him to stand near the tub, gave up the toilet surround, exchanged the walker for a cane. As the months went on I gradually got feeling and strength back with therapy and hard work. So, what you are seeing now with your housemate is not necessarily what you will see in a few weeks or months. I would be up-front and patient. Encourage therapy and be positive about recovery, but if things become too difficult for you, you’ll have to be honest with her. Visit us often here. There’s a wealth of information and understanding from these wonderful people. My best to you both. :slightly_smiling_face: :heart:Jeanne


Thank you all for your replies. It’s wonderful to get such great advice and guidance.

I’m still praying for the best and a positive outcome. It’s early days, and probably too early to make any really big decisions. One day at a time is probably the only way.