Hi, my husband recently had a stroke, I’ve read re the first three/six months being important. He has been in rehab, but it wasn’t what we had hoped for due to staff shortages. I find myself wanting him to exercise for a short time and get worried when he says he is too tired. Sometimes I think it’s the laying in bed with no input as well. How do you balance pushing/encouragement with resting?
Shwmae @kalaki564, I was almost bed bound for three months after discharge. I knew that if I didn’t exercise, I was at risk of muscle atrophy. So, I exercised supine, and on the edge of the bed. There are lots of gentle and simple exercises that can be done this way. It is also important to sleep and, aye, neurological fatigue will obstruct certain exercise routines, and it’s important not to push through that. You could try “bed dancing”, having him listen to songs he likes while moving limbs in supine. This also gives the exercise a time limit, as the exercises stop when the song finishes.
Welcome to the forum @kalaki564 it’s difficult at first as one usually tires quite quickly, though your husband should try to exercise or move if he is able to.
As Rups mentions there are exercises/movements you can do whilst in bed. Try encouraging him to set a goal to start off easy for instance moving/exercising for 5-10 minutes with the aim to increase the duration as he improves.
If he can’t move himself, you don’t mention how badly he’s affected, there are safe ways for you to move his affected limbs.
Keep encouraging him, he may be feeling a little down at the moment.
H @kalaki564 welcome to the Forum and sorry to hear of your husband’s stroke. My late husband had very little rehab in hospital or occupational therapy when transferred to a nursing home due to the pandemic.
His right side ischemic stroke left him totally paralysed on his left side, unable to speak and bed ridden I managed to get one physiotherapist visit for him and they gave me a sheet of simple exercises to do with him where I could move his legs and exercise them for him. This did help alleviate some of the muscle cramps he was getting but he still needed medication as well for the muscle pain. Has your husband seen anyone since he left hospital that may be able to give you an exercise plan and show you how to help him where / if needed?
I found that gently massaging his legs with cream also helped as I was moving his muscles whilst easing his dry skin. Unfortunately due to the pandemic I got very few visits in the 5 months which didn’t help him.
It is so difficult as a carer as you want them to exercise but have to be aware it’s only for a short time as they need rest to help their body recuperate from such a traumatic experience . Don’t be tempted to push through and keep going. Listen to his body when he says he has had enough for that Pushing too hard may discourage him to exercise. You are right when you say it is a balance wanting to push them and encourage them alongside them needing to rest. I have no answers to that only be patient however frustrating that feels.
Please also take time for yourself. That’s not easy I know but you need to recover too from the stress and shock his stroke is having on you. I don’t know if you are able to get much sleep. I didn’t and still can’t. That takes its toll on you too.
You will hopefully get a lot of help, hope and encouragement from everyone on this site. They are so supportive.
Kind regards Marie
It really depends on his personality. My partner has always given me tough love and still does. When I say I can’t do something the response is, ‘you won’t know until you try’. It works for me, but all our personalities are different.
Hi Marie, thank you for your reply, my husband has no movement in his right arm and only a slight movement in his leg, I have been massaging his arm and leg. I’m not sure it’s hit me yet if I’m honest or I’ve adapted quickly. The fear of him never coming back was replaced with happiness he was if that makes sense.
We are so lucky with the timing, my dad passed during the pandemic and that was tough not being able to visit. At least I have been able to see him daily just short staffed in hospital. Again thank you for your support
I love the music idea thank you
@kalaki564 welcome to the forum. I can’t really add anything to whats already been said but just wanted to welcome you.
Slow & steady wins the race as they say. A bit at a time & increase gradually. I’m sure you can find some exercises sheets on line. I did & found them really useful.
Wishing you botb all the best.
I don’t know how to judge the right balance between pushing rehabilitation exercises and managing fatigue. My 44 year old son had a bad stroke in January 2022. Everything I read seemed to focus on the importance of the first 3-6 months for rehabilitation and recovery. I felt stressed and worried when he didn’t ‘want’ to practice the exercises. I didn’t appreciate at the time that fatigue and exhaustion also need to be managed.
All I can do is acknowledge that this is one of the many dilemmas in caring for a loved one and it’s so hard to know if you’re doing the right or best thing. Wishing you all the best
It’s so difficult to know how to balance everything. As someone who has had a stroke I still haven’t got the balance right.
It’s down to the individual sometimes too. My husband was always trying to push me & sometimes wouldn’t leave it when I said I couldn’t do it today. Was the cause of a few arguments but I know he was only doing it for my benefit. He just didn’t understand the fatigue bit. I wouldn’t expect him too either as it’s hard enough for me.
I take my hat off to all the carers out there. You’re amazing & have to put up with some difficult times.
Thanks Pat. I think as a carer I don’t/didn’t want to waste time that is precious in that initial window if opportunity. (Sorry started to answer a while a go got disturbed/distracted) . I can see times now when he is shattered and fighting fatigue,now trying to encourage him to rest