In the previous article, you learned how to start preparing for life after stroke by preventing possible falls and managing your stroke risk factors.
Now we’re moving onto the bigger stuff. Here are 8 more things that all stroke survivors should do after discharge:
8. Purchase any safety equipment you need
Some stroke survivors refuse to add safety equipment to their home for the sake of saving money, but this is simply not safe.
Stroke deficits increase your risk of falling and other potentially life-threatening hazards – and being prepared can save your life. So be sure to install all safety equipment that your physiatrist suggests!
If you are hesitant to install safety equipment because you don’t want your home to reflect your disability, then you may benefit from this article on how to overcome shame after stroke.
9. Call your insurance company and ask questions
The medical expenses of stroke recovery can quickly stack up, and it’s essential to know what’s covered by your insurance plan and what isn’t.
See the second-half of this article on health insurance to find a list of questions to ask your provider.
10. Join a support group if it appeals to you
Support is absolutely essential during challenging times. And nothing beats the support of someone who understands exactly what you’re going through, which is why many survivors choose to join support groups.
Or you can join both!
11. Be aware of possible emotional changes
If you find yourself experiencing sporadic emotions, or an increase in negative emotions, then it’s important to educate yourself of the emotional side effects of stroke.
If you experience sporadic emotions, then you may suffer from a medically diagnosed post-stroke side effect called emotional lability. This condition is caused by damage to the emotion center of the brain.
If you believe that you suffer from emotional lability, it’s important to talk with your doctor. (S)he may be able to help.
If you find yourself experiencing more negative emotions – but they don’t seem to be sporadic – then you may need to address your psychology and practice more mindfulness. They are both great ways of coping with the negative after effects of stroke.
12. Inform your caregivers of possible emotional changes (*equally important!)
Why should you tell your caregivers about all this personal stuff?
Because they need to know that your emotions are not necessarily because of them. Your caregivers want the best for you, and if they find you getting upset, they might feel like they’re doing something wrong.
By opening yourself up and telling your loved ones that your stroke may have affected your emotions, it will help them understand what you’re going through encourage them to support you.
13. Gather the phone numbers and emails of your physicians and therapists
During stroke recovery, there are many unique variables that can change after you are discharged from the hospital. It’s always a good idea to get the contact information from your care team in case you have any questions.
Never rely on them in the case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1 instead!
14. Take a deep dive into researching various therapies
Because every stroke is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to rehabilitation. Therefore, the responsibility falls on you to research options that may benefit you better than your current regimen.
For the basics, see our article on 7 methods for motor recovery after stroke. But you don’t have to stop there.
There are many other forms of therapy that we’ve seen other survivors try, like craniosacral therapy, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, and more.
As long as it makes you feel better and it’s safe, then it’s totally worth a shot. And since you have the email and phone number of your rehabilitation specialists, you can run it by them to make sure they’re on board with it, too!
15. Take the slow but steady route
The first few months of stroke recovery are often characterized by rapid improvement. This is caused by the brain’s ‘heightened state of plasticity’ during that time.
However, after those first few months, the rate of recovery will slow down – sometimes drastically. It’s important not to view this slow-down as a sign of failure. Rather, you’re just getting started.
Recovery often takes months or years for many people, and the slow and steady pace will serve you very well. Try to avoid burnout by ‘going hard’ for short amounts of time. The brain needs stimulation – but not too much!
16. Keep your motivation up
The frustrations that inevitably accompany recovery can cause you to lose hope, which is why maintaining motivation is so important. We suggest reading inspirational quotes and reading self-help books specifically for stroke recovery to keep your spirits lifted.
When you read positive words, your mind starts to generate the feeling of positivity. And the more you surround yourself with encouragement, the farther you will go.
All in all, it’s important to prepare yourself for the road to recovery ahead. It will be challenging, but that’s exactly why survivors become stronger after stroke.