Tips for coping with stroke

Use assistive devices

Assistive devices are meant to make rehabilitation and daily tasks easier. These devices could be:

  • Walking poles
  • Walkers
  • Canes
  • Wheelchairs
  • Software applications on computers or phones
  • Smart technology
  • Hand bars in the bathrooms
  • Railings

Arrange your environment

After a stroke and subsequent brain injury, your home environment may not be set up for you to act independently (at least at first). This can be hard on self-esteem and mean that you rely on caregivers for more things. Following an occupational therapist’s suggestions or advice on minor home environment adjustments can create a safe, practical living space that lets you be as independent as possible. Labelling drawers, getting special adaptive tools, or adding safety railings are all examples of home environment improvements that could be helpful.

Be patient

Stroke and brain injury rehabilitation will take a lot of time and commitment. You won’t see progress right away, and it’s easy to get discouraged. But by working with the rehabilitation therapists, breaking down big goals, and with time you will move forward.

Focus on one task at a time

Multitasking requires a lot of focus, and it can be overwhelming – particularly if you’re struggling with attention at this time. When you try to do too many things at once, something could be missed or done incorrectly. By focusing on one task at a time, you ensure that you are completing that task safely and correctly. This is much more effective, particularly if the task is a rehabilitation exercise.

Get appropriate rest

Stroke and brain injury recovery requires a lot of energy. This energy often fades as the day goes on. It’s easy to get fatigued. By taking breaks and devoting some time to creating a good sleep routine, you can make sure you’re well-rested for the day.

Keep schedules and lists

Schedules and lists help keep you organized and track appointments. A schedule or list can also reduce stress because you won’t be worried about forgetting something. You can also use journaling as a useful way to track your progress, activities, and feelings.

Take care of your mental health

Mental health is an essential part of overall well-being, and an important aspect of brain injury recovery. It is a difficult, emotional and mentally stressful process, and there is a risk that you may experience anxiety, anger, or depression.

Plan for the long-term

After a stroke and brain injury, you may need help to complete activities of daily living (ADLs). It’s important to make plans for the long-term. You could have a caregiver, a personal support worker, move into short-term care or find a long-term care home. There are several options you can choose, and several factors you should take into consideration to make the decision.

Exercise and nutrition

Proper exercise and nutrition are important parts of health. After a stroke, you may have specific restrictions on what you can do and eat. Working with a dietitian and physical therapists will ensure you are getting the right nutrients and exercising safely.

For more focused tips on stroke and brain injury recovery, check out the Heart and Stroke Foundation website