Life after stroke: Recovering at home

November 07, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

Life after a stroke presents unique challenges. There are many factors that influence recovery, such as where in the brain the stroke occurred and how much of the brain was affected. After a stroke, some survivors experience:

  • Paralysis and weakness on one side of the body
  • Problems with motor skills, muscle tightness/stiffness
  • Numbness, temperature changes, spatial awareness
  • Gait and balance problem
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Trouble with chewing and swallowing
  • Vision issues
  • Problem with thinking, memory, attention, judgement
  • Anxiety, depression, anger, irritability

Stroke care at home

The first three months after a stroke are the most important for recovery. This is when the brain is ready to learn and make new connections. This is also when the most rapid recovery usually occurs. A good medical management plan, including rehabilitation, is key during this time. Rehabilitation can build your strength, capability and confidence.

“Stroke rehabilitation is a critical part of stroke treatment and recovery. The sooner you start rehabilitation, the greater potential for recovery,” says Hurmina Muqtadar, M.D., neurologist with Edward-Elmhurst Medical Group.

The stroke care team at Edward-Elmhurst Health provides expert, fully integrated neurologic care, with rehabilitation beginning in the hospital, to help you rebuild strength and functional capabilities.

Once home, acute stroke survivors can take part in an innovative new stroke recovery program called SCREEN, developed through a collaboration between NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health and Residential Home Health.

SCREEN offers a customized home health plan that addresses a stroke survivor’s personal challenges and helps them set and achieve goals for greater health, quality of life and independence, and reduce the likelihood of rehospitalization.

“We will assist you in following the plan of care, medication management, diet and exercise and help you monitor symptoms in order to prevent another stroke,” says Dr. Muqtadar.

Learn more about stroke recovery and the SCREEN program.

Preventing another stroke

Stroke survivors are at high risk of having another stroke, but you can greatly reduce your risk by making the right lifestyle choices each day:

  • Don’t smoke or use other forms of tobacco. Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Get regular physical activity, which can help lower blood pressure and control cholesterol, diabetes and weight. Try at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight greatly increases the risk of stroke.
  • Follow a heart-healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, fish, legumes (dried beans and peas), and unsalted nuts and seeds. Limit saturated and trans fats, red meat, sodium and added sugars.
  • Avoid alcohol or limit it to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
  • Take medication as prescribed. Don’t stop taking it without talking with your doctor.
  • Manage other conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and depression.
  • Check in with your doctor regularly.

Although recovery from stroke can be a long and challenging process, with the right rehabilitation plan and lifestyle choices, many survivors learn to adapt to their new normal and discover that there is life after stroke.

Learn more about stroke care and recovery at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Concerned about your risk for stroke? Take our 5-minute assessment to find out.

Read our blog: How to care for a loved one after a stroke.

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