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Navigating Life After Stroke: Tips for Recovery

woman and mother going on a walk during life after stroke

Life after stroke is full of new variables that require rigorous preparation in order to feel confident moving forward.

To help you navigate the road to recovery, we’re about to share our best tips for life after stroke. Let’s get straight to it.

Healing During Life After Stroke

First, we’ll discuss practical tips for healing the brain and recovering function. Then, we’ll share some lifestyle changes that can help you recover.

1. Focus on Healing the Brain

During life after stroke, repetition is everything. Repetition stimulates the brain and activates neuroplasticity, the process of forming new neural connections.

Neuroplasticity is how the brain heals itself after stroke.

It allows healthy parts of the brain to take over the functions that the damaged parts of the brain cannot execute anymore.

2. Participate in Various Therapies

It’s likely that you received or will receive therapy during your initial hospital stay, and may even be recommended to go to inpatient and/or outpatient rehabilitation afterwards.

The types of therapy you receive will depend upon your unique stroke effects. Typically, therapy can include:

  • Physical therapy to restore motor skills
  • Occupational therapy to help with the activities of daily living
  • Speech therapy to restore swallowing abilities, cognition, and language skills

Take advantage of the first 3 months post-stroke when neuroplasticity is in a heightened state. Therapy will have a greater impact during this time.

3. Motivate Yourself at Home

After discharge home from the hospital, and between outpatient therapy visits, it’s important to keep exercising at home. Remember: it’s all about repetition if you want results.

It can be difficult to stay motivated with just a sheet of written exercises, though. Instead, try investing in some motivating stroke rehab equipment.

Home therapy devices like Flint Rehab’s FitMi can help you accomplish high repetition of rehab exercise by gamifying the experience. This makes it more rewarding and satisfying.

4. Adapt First, Then Overcome

When you consult with your therapists, they will probably recommend adaptive equipment and home modifications to help you stay safe during life after stroke.

For example, if you have poor balance, they may recommend a walker or cane. You should listen to your therapists and get any equipment they recommend.

Don’t stop there, though. By continuing with your therapies, you can keep improving so that one day you might not need the adaptive equipment anymore.

That’s the difference between compensation and recovery. However, there is no shame if your therapists recommend you to continue relying on certain equipment for safety.

5. Help Caregivers Help You

During stroke recovery, patients might become more dependent upon caregivers to carry out certain tasks. It can take some time to learn how to help someone with a disability, so make it easy on them. Provide loved ones with a guide on how to help someone that had a stroke.

It will help them help you. Additionally, if a family member will be caring for you after your discharge from the hospital, your therapists in inpatient rehab should provide them some form of training to make sure they know how to properly care for you before you go home.

6. Eat Well

Hopefully, life after stroke will involve healthier eating choices in order to help minimize chances of a second stroke.

Many stroke risk factors, like atherosclerosis (buildup of cholesterol plaque in artery walls) and obesity, can be improved with a healthy diet.

Consult with your dietician to generate an eating plan that includes plenty of nutritious foods for stroke recovery.

Lifestyle Changes During Life After Stroke

Now that you have all the technical tips, let’s move onto motivational tactics that can help you cope with life after stroke.

7. Make Peace with Slow

If you sustained motor impairments after stroke, then it probably makes everyday tasks take longer to accomplish, often leading to frustration.

During life after stroke, it’s important to be patient with yourself. This isn’t a time where a fast-paced life is supported.

Instead, it’s time to transition to a slow life – at least while you’re in recovery. Give yourself the time and space to heal. You deserve it!

8. Boost Morale with Positive Psychology

Post-stroke depression is a common result of stroke that likely stems from the drastic changes following a stroke.

When the effects of depression are severe, they can compromise your ability to participate in beloved hobbies or carry out the activities of daily living.

To help boost morale, try to apply neuroplasticity to your mood!

This is called positive psychology, and it works by repetitively focusing on the good so that your brain naturally focuses on the good.

There’s more that goes into it, of course. You can learn more in the book Healing & Happiness After Stroke.

9. Get Support

It’s also important to support yourself during life after stroke.

Try joining an in-person or online stroke support group. Also, it can help to make a habit of skimming Pinterest for motivating quotes for stroke survivors.

Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself motivated on the road to recovery.

10. Question Everything

Life after stroke should be full of curiosity. If someone has told you that you can’t do something, or that you’ll never recover to a certain degree, challenge them.

Every stroke is different, and every recovery will be different. There are no limits since the limits are unknown!

Strive for a full recovery from stroke by constantly challenging your beliefs to see how far you can actually go. Just make sure to do things safely along the way!

11. Keep Going

Whether it’s been months, years, or decades since your stroke – recovery is possible.

Stroke patients frequently ask if they can improve movement with our rehabilitation tools even though it’s been several years or decades since their stroke.

Our answer? Recovery is always possible — even decades after stroke.

We have seen patients as far as 24 years post-stroke improve movement with our home therapy tools.

Never give up hope. Trust that when you put in the work, the brain will respond.

Good luck on the road to recovery! We hope you enjoyed this guide to life after stroke.

Keep It Going: Download Our Stroke Recovery Ebook for Free

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Get our free stroke recovery ebook by signing up below! It contains 15 tips every stroke survivor and caregiver must know. You’ll also receive our weekly Monday newsletter that contains 5 articles on stroke recovery. We will never sell your email address, and we never spam. That we promise.

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You're on a Roll: Read More Popular Recovery Articles

You’re Really on a Roll! See how Jerry is regaining movement with FitMi home therapy

My husband is getting better and better!

“My name is Monica Davis but the person who is using the FitMi is my husband, Jerry. I first came across FitMi on Facebook. I pondered it for nearly a year. In that time, he had PT, OT and Speech therapy, as well as vision therapy.

I got a little more serious about ordering the FitMi when that all ended 7 months after his stroke. I wish I hadn’t waited to order it. He enjoys it and it is quite a workout!

He loves it when he levels up and gets WOO HOOs! It is a wonderful product! His stroke has affected his left side. Quick medical attention, therapy and FitMi have helped him tremendously!”

Monica & Jerry’s FitMi review

What are these “WOO HOOs” about?

FitMi is like your own personal therapist encouraging you to accomplish the high repetition of exercise needed to improve.

When you beat your high score or unlock a new exercise, FitMi provides a little “woo hoo!” as auditory feedback. It’s oddly satisfying and helps motivate you to keep up the great work.

In Jerry’s photo below, you can see him with the FitMi pucks below his feet for one of the leg exercises:

FitMi is beloved by survivors and used in America’s top rehab clinics

Many therapists recommend using FitMi at home between outpatient therapy visits and they are amazed by how much faster patients improve when using it.

It’s no surprise why over 14,000 OTs voted for FitMi as “Best of Show” at the annual AOTA conference; and why the #1 rehabilitation hospital in America, Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, uses FitMi with their patients.

This award-winning home therapy device is the perfect way to continue recovery from home. Read more stories and reviews by clicking the button below: