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Dr. Ajaya N Jha
nstitute of Neurosciences

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11. Coping and support groups

A stroke is a life-changing event that can affect your emotional well-being as much as your physical function. You may experience feelings of helplessness, frustration, depression and apathy. You may also have mood changes and a diminished sex drive.

Maintaining your self-esteem, connections to others and interest in the world are essential parts of your recovery. Several strategies may help both you and your caregivers, including:

  • Don't be hard on yourself.
  • Accept that physical and emotional recovery will involve tough work and it will take time. Aim for a "new normal," and celebrate your progress. Allow time for rest.

  • Get out of the house even if it's hard.
  • Try not to be discouraged or self-conscious if you move slowly and need a cane, walker or wheelchair to get around. Getting out is good for you.

  • Join a support group.
  • Meeting with others who are coping with a stroke lets you get out and share experiences, exchange information and forge new friendships.

  • Let friends and family know what you need.
  • People may want to help, but they may not know how to help. Let them know that you would like them to bring over a meal and stay to eat with you and talk or to go out to lunch with you or attend social events or church activities.

Communication challenges

One of the most frustrating effects of stroke is that it can affect your speech and language. Here are some tips to help both stroke survivors and caregivers cope with communication challenges:

  • Practice will help.
  • Try to have a conversation at least once a day. It will help you learn what works best for you, feel connected and rebuild your confidence.

  • Relax and take your time.
  • Talking may be easiest and most enjoyable in a relaxing situation when you have plenty of time. Some stroke survivors find that after dinner is a good time.

  • Say it your way.
  • When you're recovering from a stroke, you may need to use fewer words, rely on gestures or rely on your tone of voice to communicate.

  • Use props and communication aids.
  • You may find it helpful to use cue cards showing frequently used words, pictures of close friends and family members or daily activities, such as a favourite television show or the bathroom.


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