What to Do When Someone Has a Stroke: What To Know When the Unexpected Happens
Tips for life after stroke
A stroke can cause a person's life to change in an instant. Life after a stroke can be overwhelming and heartbreaking for that person’s loved ones and family. Recognizing stroke symptoms and acting fast can make a huge difference in outcomes. The sooner the cause of a stroke is determined and appropriate care is initiated the better the chances of making a full recovery. If you notice someone is experiencing potential stroke symptoms, don’t hesitate to call 911 and seek help immediately. After the stroke survivor comes back from the hospital or rehab there are still many challenges to face. You may not know how to help your loved one get back on their feet after this life-changing event. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do by keeping the following 4 tips in mind when someone has a stroke.
- The Right Support is a Game Changer
When someone has a stroke, they can feel overwhelmed and sad over the independence they may have lost. Being there for them and staying positive is important in the recovery process and will give them a better chance of reaching their goals for returning to their normal life. Make sure that they know you're there for them no matter what happens and that it’s okay to grieve and ask for help when they need it. When dealing with a major life change like a stroke, therapy can be helpful.
- Brain Cells Can Regenerate
The brain is amazingly adaptable. While neural tissues within the brain are delicate and slower to heal, there is a possibility that damaged tissues can regenerate via a process called neurogenesis. The most healing typically occurs in the first few months but can continue up to several years later! This is what allows more than 80% of stroke survivors to walk again within the first 6 months.
- Technology Makes Adapting Easier
Today's world is filled with adaptive equipment that can help someone that has had a stroke regain independence more quickly. Ranging from being able to put their own socks on and cooking to effectively communicating and returning to sports, hobbies, or work, there are many great tools available. Talking to their rehab team, particularly an occupational or recreational therapist, can get them on track to returning to the activities they love. Go to zeitmedical.com to see what other technologies are being used for stroke victims.
- Set Realistic Goals
Stroke recovery requires both patience and determination. Setting the right goals is a balancing act. Goals that are too big in the short term can lead to frustration while goals that are too small can diminish motivation. You can work with the stroke survivor and their medical team to set appropriate goals based on their current deficits and previous level of activities. For example, if they were working, it's important for them to know only 50% of stroke victims return to work. If they are able to return, it's important to help them ease back into it and understand potential barriers that may arise.
Returning to Normal Life Is Possible
Whether the stroke survivor makes a full recovery or has to make adaptations, living a full life and spending quality time doing the things they enjoy (and with the people they love) is possible. While the road to recovery may be challenging, it's important for them and their loved ones not to give up hope. Life after a stroke is possible and every day presents an opportunity to grow beyond what they once thought was possible.