Life as a stroke survivor is more than a spectator sport!
What is life like after a stroke?
If you've had a stroke and are now recovering, you know you are facing a new normal. But that normal doesn’t mean you have to take a back seat to the things you’ve always enjoyed.
What is the new normal?
“Many stroke survivors take up new sports as they recover, and many more, keep on with the ones they’ve always loved,” says Barbara Moore, Community Coordinator at Linking Survivors with Survivors.
Going for a gentle hike, living room stretches or enjoying a round of golf? All are things that stroke survivors can do.
“At March of Dimes Canada we work very collaboratively with any facility that wants to be stroke friendly,” says Barbara. “There are organizations that have specific neurological programs, there are walking groups, support groups and games groups as well.”
Stay connected and get back in the saddle
For example, After Stroke "is a personalized stroke recovery program that helps survivors and their families navigate the path forward after a stroke".
A key part of stroke recovery program is linking people who’ve had similar experiences in their road to recovery.
The experienced stroke survivor can help to coach a more recent stroke survivor back onto the golf course, back into to pool or back onto a bicycle. All at a pace they are comfortable with.
Planning is an important part of the game
Planning to play might be a big adjustment, and for some, incontinence may be part of the equation.
Just like you plan your medication, plan to use what you need. There's no need to find yourself caught in embarrassing accident.
There are far more options than the off-the-shelf incontinence products you see in drugstores. Instead, choose the right incontinence product that will work best for you and your circumstances.
Have a look at MyLiberty's collection of incontinence products for sports or consider these specialty products:
Incontinence Swimwear: Washable and Disposable Swim Briefs and Shorts
SOSecure washable swim briefs comply with public pool requirements for protection from bowel accidents.
Pads, also known as guards, shields or liners, are designed to absorb urine and reduce odour. Typically, they have a waterproof backing and a stay-dry layer to prevent embarrassing leaks.
Most have an adhesive strip on the back to secure the liner or pad to your own underwear. Choose from unisex liners and pads for urine leaks or ones that are designed especially for women or men.
As with pads, there are lots of options today. You have lots of choice, ensuring you are comfortable and ready to get on with your post-stroke fitness regime.
Briefs or adult diapers are more absorbent than protective, disposable underwear, and offer the flexibility of simpler changes if mobility is an issue. Generally, briefs are unisex, but they offer a range of absorbency from light to maximum capacity, depending on your needs.
Underpads protect wheelchairs, car seats and other furniture
“There may be a period of re-learning, and adjusting your swing, but getting back onto the greens is always an option, and a goal for many of the people we work with,” says Barbara. “Some stroke survivors believe that sports are never going to happen again, but they can, you just have to learn how to do things differently.
Follow your doctor’s instructions
Always check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity, and if they give you the green light, ease on into it. Exercise not only keeps you busy, but it helps you keep your weight down, eases blood pressure and can even alleviate depression.
Your doctor may also offer you a course of rehabilitation just to get you started. Always follow their instructions.
March of Dimes is a non-profit organization, and there are many volunteer hours and financial donations that go into supporting programs and activities for Stroke Survivors.
Barbara Moore is a Community Coordinator with the Linking Survivors with Survivors Program at the March of Dimes Canada. She loves her job and the work she does in the community.
- Cindy Clegg