After a stroke, home treatment will be an important part of your rehabilitation.
You may need to use assistive devices to help you:
- Eat. Large-handled silverware can be easier to grab and use if you have a weak hand. If you have trouble swallowing, you may need to change your diet or your doctor may provide you with a feeding tube to use at home.
- Get dressed. Devices called reachers can help you put on socks or stockings if you have weakness in one arm or hand.
- Walk. Canes and walkers can be used to help prevent falls.
Tips for a successful recovery
- Be as involved as possible in your care. Although you may feel like letting a caregiver take charge, the more you can participate, the better. Ask for help in dealing with any disabilities you may have, and try to make people understand your limitations.
- Recognize and deal with depression. Depression is common in people who have had a stroke, and it can be treated. You may need medicines for depression and pain to help you cope.
- Participate in a stroke rehabilitation program as soon as possible. After a stroke, a combination of physical, speech, and occupational therapies can help you manage the basics of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. A team that includes a doctor, a variety of therapists, and nurses will work with you to overcome disabilities, learn new ways to do tasks, and strengthen parts of your body impaired by the stroke. For more information, see the topic Stroke Rehabilitation.
Tips for dealing with the effects of a stroke
- Managing getting dressed. Getting dressed may be easier if you use stocking/sock spreaders, rings or strings attached to zipper pulls, and buttonhooks. Talk with an occupational therapist about assistive devices that can help you get dressed.
- Managing vision problems. After a stroke, some people have problems seeing to one side. For example, people with right-sided paralysis may have difficulty seeing to the right.
- Managing eating problems. You may not be able to feel food on one or both sides of your mouth. This increases your risk for choking. You may need further tests or an evaluation by a speech therapist.
- Stroke Recovery: Coping With Eating Problems
- Managing bowel and bladder problems. Some people who have a stroke suffer loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) after the stroke. But this is usually temporary, and it can have many causes, including infection, constipation, and the effects of medicines.
Tips for family members and caregivers
- Family adjustment and support will be important to your loved one's recovery. Strong support from the family can greatly enhance recovery.
- Help manage speech and language problems with some simple tips. These problems may involve any or all aspects of language use, such as speaking, reading, writing, and understanding the spoken word. Speaking slowly and directly and listening carefully can help.
For more information on rehabilitation (rehab) at home, see the topic Stroke Rehabilitation.
Although stroke rehab is increasingly successful at prolonging life, a stroke can be a disabling or fatal condition. People who have had a stroke may consider discussing health care and other legal issues that may arise near the end of life. Many people find it helpful and comforting to state their health care choices in writing with a living will or other advance directive while they are still able to make and communicate these decisions. For more information, see the topic Care at the End of Life.