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After a Stroke: Helping Your Family Adjust

British Columbia Specific Information

A stroke is a brain injury caused by blood flow to the brain being blocked, or bleeding in the brain. After having a stroke you may experience physical, mental and emotional complications. These could include: weakness on one side of the body, joint pain, trouble walking, speech and language difficulties, trouble with memory or focusing, etc. Stroke rehabilitation programs can help you continue to live as independently as possible after a stroke, and to learn to adjust to the physical and mental changes caused by your stroke.

To find stroke recovery and rehabilitation programs in your area, search HealthLinkBC's FIND Services and Resources Directory. For more information on stroke recovery, visit Heart and Stroke Foundation or Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia.

For more information on exercising to prevent a stroke or rehabilitation exercises after a stroke, call 8-1-1 to speak with a qualified exercise professional Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm PST. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Topic Overview

If you have a family member who has had a stroke, you may be concerned about how the stroke is going to affect your family's lifestyle. You may be concerned about finances and changes in family roles and responsibilities.

Here are some ways to help your loved one and other family members adjust:

  • Realize that after a stroke, your loved one may be prone to strong emotional reactions. Remember that these are a result of the stroke. Try not to become too upset by them.
  • Don't avoid your loved one who's had a stroke. Contact with and support from family members is very important to your loved one's recovery.
  • Join a local support group. These groups provide a place where issues can be discussed in a supportive environment and an opportunity to meet others dealing with the same issues. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area.
  • Take care of yourself too. You must stay healthy enough so you can care for your loved one who has had a stroke.

You are an important part of your family member's recovery after a stroke.

  • Give the person support and encouragement to participate in the decisions about his or her rehabilitation (rehab) program.
  • Visit and talk with the person often.
  • Participate in educational programs, and attend some of the rehab sessions.
  • Help the person practice the skills he or she is learning.
  • Work with the program staff to match the activities to what the person needs to do after returning home.
  • Find out what the person can do independently and what he or she needs help with. Avoid doing things for the person that he or she is able to do without help.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Winstein CJ, et al. (2016). Guidelines for adult stroke rehabilitation and recovery: A guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, published online May 4, 2016. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000098. Accessed June 3, 2016.

Credits

Current as of:
March 4, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Karin M. Lindholm DO - Neurology
Richard D. Zorowitz MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation