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Stroke: Independent Living

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Living through a stroke is very good news. However, there is a road to recovery after being discharged from the hospital. The physical effects after a stroke might be limb immobility, problems with swallowing, and fatigue. The American Physical Therapy Association™ explains that the time it takes to recover from a stroke depends on the size and location of the stroke, as well as pre-existing conditions and how quickly care was received. A physical therapist will assist with:

  • teaching a person recovering from a stroke how to transfer, or move safely from a bed to a chair

  • relearning how to walk

  • using a wheelchair, if needed

  • training for using any new devices, such as a walker or cane

When engaging a physical therapist to assist with stroke recovery, be sure to ask about their experience helping people affected by a stroke. The American Physical Therapy Association advises people to be prepared to discuss their symptoms—and what makes them worse or better—in detail during their first appointment with the physical therapist. In addition to working directly with a physical therapist, the person recovering will need to practice the therapists’ prescribed exercises or movements daily—some with the assistance of a caregiver. The return to an independent life after a stroke is achieved, quite literally according to some survivors who share their stories on the American Stroke Association website, one step at a time.

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