Question: My husband had a stroke 2 years ago. It affected his right side. He walks with a cane and a little without one but can not use his right hand. He is left handed so he can do a lot of things. How can I keep him motivated?
: Here are some tips to help keep him motivated:
1. Have him participate in activities that he enjoys. If he had a favorite hobby before that is now difficult, try to adapt the hobby so that he can participate. You can also help him find new hobbies.
2. If applicable, involve younger children and grandchildren to make activities more fun and motivating to him.
3. Do activities with peers. Continue to be active socially and have friends help you keep him motivated.
4. Keep a chart of exercises and progress.
5. Set goals and work on achieving each goal. Goals make one's action have a clear direction. If a goal ends up being too difficult then choose an easier goal.
6. Give a reward when a goal is achieved (e.g go to a favorite restaurant, go on a trip, make a favorite meal, get a massage, etc.)
7. Don't nag and try to keep a positive attitude and outlook.
8. Have him read positive mental attitude or encouraging books (or listen to them online together or via audio tapes together).
9. If you use certain equipment for therapy, keep it easily accessible and visible (out of sight=out of mind and will lead to not following through with exercises)
10. Have him exercise with a partner that will hold him accountable for exercising (a friend or maybe another stroke survivor).
11. Hire a personal trainer that has experience in working with stroke patients.
12. Vary his routine to prevent boredom.
13. Make sure he gets enough rest and does not get over fatigued.
14. If you tend to help him too much, stand back and make yourself less available so that he must become more independent in doing for himself.
15. Continue to treat him as your equal. Don't coddle or treat him as a child. This can be demeaning to a person who has had a stroke.
There are many people that live enjoyable, fulfilling lives that have disabilities. Attitude plays a big part in how a person responds to a disability. This is true from the perspective of a caregiver as well.