It’s summertime and you want to be outdoors enjoying the beach or other activities. But as a stroke survivor or caregiver, you’re depressed because summer just reminds you of all of the activities you used to do pre-stroke that you think would be too difficult to do now.

I get it.

After my husband Don suffered a massive stroke in 2005 that left him paralyzed from the neck down and forced to live on a respirator, I thought our lives were over. Especially with his physical disabilities, which created a true limitation to what he could do, and consequently what we could do together.

It can be tough adjusting to life after stroke and figuring out how to have fun again, especially if the patient has physical disabilities.
But you CAN, and it is actually critically important for your well-being (for both the patient and caregiver) that you do.

After I finally adjusted to our new life, I started going down the list of activities that we loved to do together and realized that we could still do many of them, albeit with some adjustments.
Here are a few summertime activities that we did together that are fun and easy to do:

  • Going to the beach to watch the sunset (even if you don’t get out of the car)
  • Taking a ferry ride to be near the water
  • Going for walks at a shopping center (there is always lots of activity and stimulation there)
  • Inviting friends over for cocktails or a barbeque (most likely the patient will only be able to partake for a short period of time, but keeping up a social life provides normalcy and goals to look forward to)
  • Swimming! Its great therapy and a patient with physical disabilities may be able to move better in the water (Don was not able to do this but it’s a great activity depending on the patient’s ability)
  • Doing anything to get out of the house. Going for a stroll, even if you’re in a wheelchair!

You might have to make adjustments to how you enjoyed certain activities in the past, but continuing to enjoy them is the key to maintaining a high quality of life.
Remember not to make the picture too big. Keep it simple. Baby steps!

The smallest ideas and activities will be less frustrating and more enjoyable in the end.

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