What is one-sided neglect after stroke? What does it feel like? If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, we have your answers here. In this article, you’ll learn why one-sided neglect occurs, what living with this side effect feels like, and how to cope with it. Let’s get started.
What Is One-Sided Neglect
When a stroke occurs on one side of the brain, it can lead to one-sided neglect on the opposite side of the body. During one-sided neglect, you forget to attend to your affected half – and sometimes everything on that half of your world.
What One-Sided Neglect Feels and Looks Like
One-sided neglect is not limited to your body. Stroke survivors with severe one-sided neglect can unconsciously neglect that side of many other things. Some examples are only eating one side of your plate (because you don’t recognize the other half) and bumping into objects on that side of the body when navigating around.
Areas That One-Sided Neglect Affects
To further define what one-sided neglect looks and feels like, the condition can be broken down into 3 levels:
- Personal space, including your body
- Peripersonal space, including everything within arm’s reach (*most common)
- Extrapersonal space, including everything that goes beyond arm’s reach
Those with personal space one-sided neglect might forget to brush the left side of their hair or dress the left side of their body. Survivors with peripersonal one-sided neglect might not see you if you’re on their affected side; and extrapersonal one-sided neglect might cause you to bump into objects on your neglected side.
While peripersonal and extrapersonal one-sided neglect is more severe, these survivors will usually recover faster than personal space one-sided neglect.
Coping with One-Sided Neglect
Many stroke survivors learn to cope with one-sided neglect by turning their head towards their affected side. While it can be hard to remember to turn to your affected side at first, these tips can help:
- Place objects on your neglected side, like television remotes and nightstands. This will help train you to look for objects on that side.
- Have a caregiver or family member guide your affected hand through tasks as you complete them, also bringing more awareness and movement into your neglected side.
- Have friends and family members sit on your neglected side when they talk to you so that you learn to look in that direction.
By training yourself to attend to your neglected side, you can improve your safety and overall well-being.
Do you know someone who has one-sided neglect and doesn’t know it? Share this article with them – they might find these tips useful.