Surviving after a stroke - it's not a solo journey
“I’ve had a stroke. What’s next?”
It’s the beginning of a new life for you, and for your loved ones too. Stroke Recovery Canada® is a national service that offers support, education and community programs for stroke survivors.
After Stroke, a program of March of Dimes Canada, is 'a personalized stroke recovery program that helps survivors and their families move forward after a stroke.'
In the COVID-era, we've all felt the challenge of uncertain change. Add a stroke into the mix, and your 'after stroke' life may feel even stranger and less familiar. You may find yourself needing to access physical therapy or speech recovery programs, and or looking for peer support stroke survivors like you.
One impact that doesn't get much airplay is possible incontinence.
Incontinence may become an issue
"Unfortunately, urinary incontinence following a stroke is common. The prevalence ranges from 37% to 79% in the days and weeks following the stroke. While many individuals with stroke will regain control of their bladder, one-third will remain incontinent at one year post-stroke."
-- Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery
Why? Weakened muscles
After a stroke, you may find yourself dealing with incontinence issues if the muscles that control urine and stool are weakened. To learn more, read our articles on causes of incontinence in men or women.
Other stroke survivors will help you
March of Dimes Canada's Peer Support Groups can connect you to fellow survivors so that you have someone to ask questions of, to help you understand what’s next or what you need to expect.
Let others help you
If incontinence is a new topic for you - or for you and your caregiver, we can help:
- Help! I'm new to incontinence. What do I need?
- What types of incontinence products are available?
- Start by understanding the range of capacity levels in incontinence products
It’s important for you to keep your loved one, or caregiver in the loop too. They need to know what you need, where they can help, where they can get help.
Consider buying incontinence products online
It's discreet, and simple. Shop our full collection, or start with a particular category like underwear guards, pads, or liners, disposable pull-on underwear or disposable adult diapers, called briefs which can help you be comfortable during your recovery:
Disposable underwear guards, pads, or liners
Disposable pull-on underwear for Men
Disposable pull-on underwear for Women
Adult diapers or briefs for incontinence protection
It's also worth learning about adult-sized cleansing wipes for skin care.
Did you know there are also protective underpads to protect furniture to reduce the stress of unexpected leaks?
You, your family or caregivers will want to know what’s appropriate to expect in terms of recovery or exercise, and how to help you prepare for this new normal.
Talk, learn and live.
This is not a journey you need to face alone. Nor does your caregiver. There is a lot of information to be had, and a lot of people to talk with who can their share experiences. They’ve been down this road before.
And, you’d be surprised how much information on treatment, sports and recreation and information and experiences with incontinence protection they can offer.
You have more options than you think.
Training programs and conferences
There are thousands of stroke survivors and caregivers linked together across Canada. And they are all working on a volunteer basis.
After Stroke provides training for stroke survivors and caregivers. There are events that stroke survivors can attend with caregivers and family and they are 100 per cent about peer education, empowerment, recharge and support.
Where needed, March of Dimes Canada also offers one-to-one training, group training and recreational events for survivors and families too.
“We offer training to our chapters to empower them and give them the support they need. We’ve been doing this for more than 60 years,” says Barbara. “It is our goal to keep people empowered and enable them to live their lives to the fullest.”
- Cindy Clegg