Submissions from Readers

Motivation

by Marilyn
(Prescott AZ)

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?


Answer: 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.

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Forget motivational books
by: Stroke Bloke

I came to the realization that those of us stroke victims who have good cognition actually go through a 'grieving" process not much different to losing someone very close to us, denial, guilt/bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. Not always in that order. We grieve the loss of our old self.

I also lost right side and I'm not left handed! My personal work for recovery is another story. I was already one that tended to be grumpy, but I got worse, not inclined to be depressed I got really depressed. Luckily my partner did most of the denial and refused to molly coddle me which I originally took as not caring and not understanding, but in fact she was continuing to treat me as a partner that she still valued-THAT is the best thing you can do!! When you feel valued, not just loved, you feel like life is still worth living. Go out to a restaurant - not as a reward for being a good boy but because you want to go out as a couple as you normally did?! My advice to the stroke survivor is to be upfront with all about your stroke; tell all and sundry and keep on trying to do what you can. When people greet me with the tentative, "how are you doing," my answer to the chagrin of my family, is to say with a smile, "not bad for a bloke with a stroke!" Embrace the new you; sure there is still frustration but I rationalize it with the fact that I would be slowed down any way as I age. I can't run the 100 in 11 seconds flat, or play in the A league soccer like I could at 19 years of age- that's life and unfortunately so is having a stroke.

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Thank you for your story
by: Anonymous

I agree that always encouraging your loved one and keeping them motivated is very important. When my grandmother had her stroke, I saw her get frustrated all the time. Keeping them motivated is so incredibly important. Also letting them know how strong they are. I wish you all the best. I posted a bit of my own story here http://kespeechpathologist.weebly.com/blog/it-happens-in-a-moment
I hope it helps someone. Thank you

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