Recovering From a Stroke
Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the US—3.4 million women in the US are currently living with disabilities resulting from a stroke.1 A stroke is a major life-changing event. The first stage of recovery is in many ways a grieving process, as you and your loved ones mourn the health and functionality you have lost. Recovering from a stroke and learning how to deal with new physical and emotional challenges is a gradual healing and learning process that takes time, patience, and persistence. One of the most important factors in the success of your recovery is your outlook: a positive mental attitude is essential. By reading this helpful information, you will discover ways to improve your quality of life after a stroke.
Women who have a first stroke in their 60s survive on average for more than 7 years. Those who have a first stroke in their 70s survive for more than 6 years, and even when a stroke occurs in women older than 80, they survive for more than 3 years on average.1 Women tend to survive longer than men do after a first stroke, making the ability to adjust to life after a stroke especially important for women.
When you leave the hospital after a stroke you will have many fears and concerns, such as having another stroke, being placed in a nursing home, being unable to cope with your disabilities, or feeling that life is no longer worth living. You may also worry that loved ones will be burdened by the responsibility of caring for you, or that friends and family will abandon you because of your disabilities. It is important to discuss and work through these concerns with your doctors, other caregivers, and your family.
In this section, we will discuss how to understand and care for your emotions and those of your family and friends. You will find answers to some basic questions you may have about recovering from a stroke. You will also find information on some of the common physical, mental, and emotional challenges faced by stroke survivors, and how you can make a plan for your recovery from stroke. Many people suffer a stroke each year and learn how to face and overcome these difficulties—with determination, a positive attitude, and the help of your family and friends, you will too.
How long does the recovery process take?
Your stroke recovery begins at the hospital as soon as you are medically stable, often within a day of having the stroke. On average, stroke survivors stay in the hospital for about 5 days.2 Most stroke patients benefit from further ongoing rehabilitation after they are released from the hospital.
Much of the progress in your stroke recovery will occur in the first few months, but there is no time limit to continued improvement, and research shows that improvements can continue years after a stroke. Recovering from a stroke and adjusting to life after a stroke is a lifelong process.
See our article on stroke rehabilitation for information about the different therapies that can help you achieve your maximum potential.