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Stroke Care Center at Gates Vascular Institute
General Guidelines for Coping with Stroke

A stroke is a major, life changing event that no one is ever prepared for. The road to recovery is a lengthy process that can be frustrating and exhausting, but by reading  this information, rehabilitation has begun.

There is still much to be learned about how the brain compensates for the damage caused by a stroke. Some brain cells may be only temporarily damaged and may resume functioning. Sometimes one region of the brain “takes over” for another region that has been damaged by the stroke. Stroke survivors sometimes experience remarkable and unanticipated recoveries that can’t be explained. 

Tips to Recovery After Stroke:

  • Take one day at a time.
  • Celebrate gains – appreciate any progress made.
  • Take care of emotional health – feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness, or depression are normal.  But if these feelings persist, a physician should be consulted.  Sharing feelings with caregivers, family and friends can also be helpful.
  • Recognize that there may activities or aspects of life that will need to be changed, relearned, and/or redefined.
  • Consider joining a support group.  A hospital social worker or patient management coordinator can provide a list of groups.
  • While the patient may have limitations, it is important to create a daily schedule.
  • Plan frequent rest periods throughout the day.
  • Try to keep up with activities that are enjoyable.
  • Get dressed daily.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Consult healthcare providers for advice on traveling.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • It is critical that caregivers continue to take care of themselves.
  • Try to keep a positive attitude and accept that there are things that can’t be controlled.
  • Eat well and get enough sleep.
  • Ask others for help. Friends, family and support groups are great resources.
  • Be prepared for changes in the stroke survivor’s mood and behavior.
  • If accompanying the patient to a doctor’s appointment, feel free to ask questions.