Weakness or Paralysis on one side of the body.
- Allow the person to do as much as he can.
- Offer assistance without making the person feel dependent.
- Schedule activities and allow time for things that take longer to do.
Problems with balance or coordination.
- Use the recommended assistive devices such as cane or walker.
- Follow recommended rehabilitation program exercises.
- Provide hand rails in bathrooms and toilets.
- Make the environment free of obstacle such as object on the floor or loose rugs causing the person to trip and fall.
- Plan frequent rest periods.
- Space activities over the day.
- Gradually increase activity level.
- Discuss setting realistic goals with the rehabilitation team.
Behavioral and Emotional Changes.
- Allow the person to talk and share feelings.
- Celebrate small gains.
- Acknowledge ups and downs as normal.
- During emotional outburst, acknowledge source of frustration and offer help, support and understanding.
- Use previously successful coping strategies.
Memory and Thinking Problems.
- Keep directions simple.
- Develop a routine.
- Frequent reminder may be helpful.
- Use aids such as clocks and calendars as reminders.
- Decrease distractions such as excessive noise and activity.
Bowel and Bladder Problems.
- Schedule toileting optimally, such as 1 hour after meals when digestion is at peak.
- Ensure privacy.
- Increase fluids and fiber in diet to avoid constipation.
- Remind the person to empty bladder every 2 or 3 hours.
- Use portable devices such as urinals, bedpans or commode when necessary.
- Make sure the person is sitting upright and the head slightly flexed forward.
- Eat slowly and take time to chew food very well before swallowing.
- Put small amounts of food in the mouth at a time.
- Follow swallowing specialist or speech therapist’s recommendations regarding swallowing techniques and food consistencies.
It is common for a stroke survivor to feel sad over the problems and difficulties caused by stroke. However if the person is experiencing symptoms of depression almost every day, all day for at least 2 weeks, seek help. This should be diagnosed and treated immediately. These symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- Feeling very sad or being down in the “dumps.”
- Feeling guilty or worthless.
- Feeling slowed down, restless, or unable to sit still.
- Loss of interest in things the person normally enjoys.
- Increase or decrease in appetite or weight.
- Trouble concentrating, thinking, remembering or making decisions.
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Lack of energy or feeling of fatigue.
- Other body aches and pains.
- Sexual problems.
- Digestive Problems.
- Feeling of hopelessness or pessimism.
- Worry and anxiety.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
If the stroke survivor shows the above symptoms, especially thoughts of death or suicide, seek professional help right away. As soon as the depression is properly treated, with either medication, psychotherapy or both, the thoughts for death or suicide will go away.