Dipika Aggarwal, MD, of the University of Kansas Hospital presents “The Power of Resilience in Stroke Recovery”.
Resiliency After Stroke
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to adapt, bounce back and thrive in the face of adversity, trauma, or significant challenges
Resilience plays a crucial role in stroke recovery
Resilience and recovery are related however, they have distinct meanings and implications
Resilience in the context of a stroke
Enables to adapt to changes after stroke
Promotes maintenance of independence
Promotes engagement in rehabilitation
Provides psychological and emotional foundation
Helps find new sources of joy and purpose in life.
What is a Stroke?
Stroke is a life-threatening condition that damages the brain. It is also the leading cause of disability in the United States. It is estimated that 800,000 people experience a stroke each year. This is equivalent to one stroke every 40 seconds. The fifth most common cause of death in the US is Stroke with someone dying every 3 minutes and 14 seconds.
Recovery is NOT limited.
Stroke recovery has NO EXPIRATION DATE
Keep hope, stay strong and never give up!!
How Resilience Impacts Stroke Survivors
It can also help stroke survivors maintain a positive mindset, improve self-advocacy, enhance quality of life, give meaning and purpose to life, and empowers self-care.
Building Emotional Resilience
To build emotional resilience, try acknowledging and expressing your emotions openly, seeking professional mental health support, joining a support group, practicing mindfulness and meditation, developing coping strategies, and celebrating even small wins.
Mindfulness means paying full attention to what is happening right now, without thinking about the past or worrying about the future. You can practice mindfulness through breathing exercises, meditation, mantras, yoga, or tai chi. Helps you to slow down thoughts, release negativity, and calm mind and body.
Resources for Mindfulness
Here are some mindfulness apps that you can download:
YouTube Resources for Mindfulness
You can also go to YouTube and search “Tamara Levitt” or “mindfulness for sleep.”
Research shows that meditation can physically change the brain and help:
Increase ability to process information
Slow cognitive effects of aging
Support immune system
Reduce menopause symptoms
Control brain’s pain response
Finding a Counselor, Therapist, or Psychologist
To find a counselor/ therapist/ psychologist you can go to psychologytoday.com, type in your city or zip code and it will show you providers around you!
What can you do to build physical resilience?
Occupational, physical and speech therapy
Regular activities like walking, swimming, or seated exercises
Use of rehabilitation equipment: canes, walkers, or wheelchair
Home modifications: grab bars, ramps, non-slip flooring etc.
Strengthening exercises: resistance bands, light weights, or body weights
Stretching exercises- VERY important for stroke survivor
You can also use a foam pad or balance board to work on balance exercises, engage in coordination exercises (tossing a ball, video games)
Cognitive Resilience & Brain Plasticity
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize through the formation of new neural connections. It allows you to adjust to learning, recover from injuries, and adapt to changes. Cognitive resilience and brain plasticity play the MOST IMPORTANT ROLE in stroke recovery.
Neuroplasticity is the creation of new neurons. This occurs throughout your life and increases after there is an injury to the brain.
Neuroplasticity can be promoted through:
Occupational, physical and speech therapy
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMIT): using the affected limb
Mental practice and visualization
REPETITIVE TASK PRACTICE
Sensory Stimulation: massage, hot/cold therapy, or textured materials.
You can promote neuroplasticity by:
Staying socially engaged
Using assistive devices
Being consistent and patient
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Focus on emotional well-being
The key to promoting neuroplasticity is regular and purposeful practice, combined with patience and a positive outlook on recovery.
Social Connections & Learning
Building social connections can help improve your mood
Listen to others, it can help validate your feelings/symptoms
There are endless resources out there for you but, go to reliable and authentic ones! There are a few examples on the next slides…