Take care of yourself after a stroke

After a stroke, keep in mind that you are the most important person in your own recovery. You need to have a major say in the decisions about your care. This may be hard for you, and you may sometimes feel like sitting back and letting others take charge.

  • Make sure others understand that you want to be involved in the decisions about your care.
  • State your wishes and opinions on matters that affect you. Talk with your doctor about your concerns. Ask questions.
  • If you need extra time to think or you have trouble talking, try not to let others make decisions for you without hearing what you have to say.
  • If you have a speech problem, it may be hard to get others to understand your wishes. Ask someone to help you express your ideas and needs. Or write them down if you can.
  • If you feel that anyone is "talking down" to you or speaking about you as if you were not present, express your concern.

Know and follow your rehabilitation plan. Most people find that rehabilitation is hard work and a slow process. Tasks and activities that were easy for you before the stroke often seem more difficult after the stroke.

  • It is normal to feel tired and discouraged at times.
  • It is important to notice your progress and take pride in each step.

Feeling sad about having a stroke and the resulting disabilities is normal. But if you get depressed, it can interfere with your recovery. At the first sign that you are feeling depressed, talk with your family and your doctor. Early treatment for depression can prevent a delay in recovery.

Sometimes a stroke affects how a person sees himself or herself. The following tips may help you keep your image of yourself as a whole person.

  • Keep your body clean.
  • Use an electric razor. If you have to shave with one hand, an electric razor may make it easier.
  • Wear your regular clothes instead of pajamas. Dressing will help you feel like yourself and not like a "sick" person.
  • Wear makeup or jewelry if you wore them before the stroke.

Last Updated: January 8, 2009

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