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Supporting Our Caregivers

How Actor Timothy Omundson’s Wife Helped Him Recover from a Stroke

Photo: Courtesy of Maarten De Boar

Three years ago, the actor had a stroke, and his wife was his caregiver. Now that he’s back on TV, the couple reflects on his recovery.

After suffering a stroke nearly three years ago, “Psych” and “American Housewife” actor Timothy Omundson spent weeks in the intensive care unit in Tampa and later was moved to a rehab hospital back in Los Angeles for intensive physical therapy. He then moved to a residential living facility where he re-learned independent living skills like buying groceries, doing laundry, and cooking.

“I spent the first several months in a wheelchair unable to stand, let alone walk,” says Omundson, now 50. “My left arm and hand are still paralyzed. I also underwent two brain surgeries, which required extensive recovery time.”

Omundson explains, “I went from being a very independent, active man traveling around the world for work, to being a two-person lift to the bathroom. I worked every day to get back into my body and back to my family.”

Why not us?

“Every day is still a challenge,” says Omundson’s wife and primary caregiver, Allison Cowley-Omundson, of her husband’s recovery. “But we are getting through it, and I’m still figuring it all out.”

The couple have two children, Lily and Nora, who were 15 and 13, respectively, at the time of their father’s stroke. Back then, the 24-hour caregiver workload included helping Omundson use the restroom, bathe, and get dressed.

Cowley-Omundson leaned on friends to help the girls get to school and activities, and also hired some help. She reminds couples not to live in the past and that communication is key. “Be as kind and as patient with each other as possible,” advises Cowley-Omundson.

“I have truly been astounded by Tim’s strength, determination, and positive attitude,” she says. “I used to ask him, ‘Why us…Why us?’ He’d reply, ‘Why not us?’ Bad things happen to people!’”

She completely admires how Omundson has dealt with it all. “Tim has truly been an inspiration throughout this whole ordeal. I’ve never seen him feeling sorry for himself or angry about what’s happened.”

New roles

Omundson’s latest role is Gregory, the neighbor on “This is Us” who’s recovering from a stroke. Next up, Omundson, who walks with a cane in real life, will star in “Psych 2,” where his character will also be recovering from a stroke.

Producers built him a separate dressing room on the sound stage so he could rest between takes. But he faces other challenges, like not being able to memorize lines as quickly as he used to. “Acting is still very much a work in progress,” he says.

Still, his family is happy to see him working again. “Tim getting to do what he loves again has been such a joy for all of us,” says Cowley-Omundson. “And it’s renewed our hope for the future.”

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