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How to Get Back on Track during Stroke Recovery

By December 23, 2015Aging in Place

Strokes can happen to anyone of any age. However, the American Stroke Association says that 75 percent of all strokes in the United States occur to people over the age of 65. Recovering from a stroke is a daunting task. The stroke survivor, family and professional caregivers can experience enormous amounts of emotional, mental, and physical stress during recovery. There is help to be had and the road to stroke recovery can be made a bit smoother by seeking it.

First and foremost, it is advisable to look for either temporary or long-term assistance. Professional help is a safe and effective option, especially in the immediate aftermath of a stroke. Helping a loved one to learn to communicate or walk again or re-learn balance and mobility requires a trained professional. Trying to do it without professional support can put too much strain on someone who also has family responsibilities, young children, and/or a full time job.

It’s important to remember that stroke recovery is a full-time job. A professional such as a skilled nurse or a speech pathologist can help a stroke survivor develop a “new normal.”
Make sure that a stroke survivor feels safe and secure. Home is the best setting for this.

Post-stroke life means that going upstairs to the bedroom may be impossible.
The house should be inspected by professionals who specialize in handicapped adaptations. Homes should be inspected, and where appropriate, safety equipment should be installed. This means grab bars on the walls of bathrooms, and seats installed in the shower. Preventing falls is a must. Other modifications may be necessary, and these can help a stroke survivor regain their independence.

Charting individual progress can do a lot to help boost a stroke survivor’s self-esteem. Marking each small victory can feed the motivation that will lead to progress, and achieving bigger goals. Setting goals should be realistic. Walking around the block only a few weeks after a stroke can be far too much, but walking around the house or working toward a trip to the mailbox, can be achieved.

Day-to-day stroke recovery should be supplemented with as healthy a lifestyle as possible. This means eating healthy foods to keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check, as well as a healthy body weight. Loved ones or caregivers can join in this healthy regimen to help a stroke survivor adhere to the new lifestyle. The proper diet can help prevent another stroke.

Moreover, it’s important to stay positive! Getting to a “new normal” will not happen overnight. Stroke survivors may need to be reminded that it is okay to ask for help. With a lot of patience, work, and optimism, a senior who has suffered a stroke need not believe their life is over. Independence can very well be regained and celebrated.

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