There are many different ways to accommodate your life after stroke that will depend on your strength, ability, judgment, and support.
What is Safety After Stroke?
Each year more thousands of Jamaicans suffer strokes. Statistics show that stroke is the third leading cause of death in Jamaica. It is the leading cause of death for women and the second leading cause of death for men. Forty percent of all stroke survivors suffer serious falls within a year after their stroke.
Questions often arise about what life changes to expect. Being safer can allow you to gain control and independence in everyday living situations.
Types of Safety Problems
Stroke affects each survivor differently. Depending of the type of stroke they endured, the level of injury to the brain, and the person’s overall health, can impact the recovery of a person. Conditions like weakness, paralysis, problems with balance or coordination, pain or numbness, problems with memory or thinking, tiredness, and problems with bladder or bowel control can all change the way a person will function in their home.
Tips on How to Be Safer after Stroke
Managing life after stroke may make some stroke survivors and caregivers uneasy. Consider arranging for an occupational therapist (OT), trained to help you manage daily activities and regain your independence, to visit your home before discharge to help you prepare a safer home environment.
The following tips can help you avoid further injury to yourself or others and support recovery.
- Strengthening leg muscles and balance through exercise
- Wearing flat, wide-toed shoes
- Eating calcium-rich foods and taking calcium supplements to increase bone strength if necessary
- Following your therapists’ recommendations about limitations and walking needs
- Not relying on furniture for support while walking. Use assistive devices prescribed by your therapist
- Recognizing that certain medicines may make you drowsy and taking precautions
- Limiting walking when distracted
- Never walking without prescribed aids such as braces or canes
- Clear paths to the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom
- Wear nonskid shoes and avoid slick surfaces
- Remove loose carpets and runners in hallways and stairwells, or fasten them with nonskid tape to improve traction
- Install handrails for support in going up and down stairs
Sometimes it may be necessary to install assistive and safety devices in your home to make it easier and safer for you to get around. Some examples include:
- Raised toilet seat
- Tub bench
- Handled shower head
- Plastic strips that adhere to the bottom of a tub or shower
- Long-handled brushes and washing mitts with pockets for soap
- Electric toothbrushes and razors