Many of us are now staying at home, or no longer going into a workplace, to slow down the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

We know that for stroke survivors and carers who are coming to terms with the after-effects of stroke, this could be an especially lonely time. Whether your stroke was recent or some time ago, the current situation could have a big impact on your emotional wellbeing. So it’s important to recognise how you’re feeling and think about ways to get support. 

If your stroke was recent, find out more about what help is available to you.

Vicki from our Stroke Helpline shares some tips for stroke survivors, friends and family:

How can I reduce my feelings of loneliness while I’m at home?

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. You can call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100 and speak to someone who understands what a stroke means. We’re here to listen and can help you to find out what support is available to you.

  • Our 'Connect and chat' volunteer telephone support service is for anyone affected by stroke, including carers. Contact our Helpline to request this service.
     
  • We also have a telephone peer support service for people who have recently had a stroke. It puts you in touch with another stroke survivor. They can spend time listening, and understand what you are going through. Contact our Helpline to request this service.
     
  • Meet others affected by stroke on our online community My Stroke Guide. It’s free, and easy to register. You can connect with stroke survivors and carers around the UK on the forums. There is also advice, information and support to help manage your recovery.
     
  • Our guide to getting online is useful for anyone who would like to know more about using the internet, and it's particularly helpful for people with aphasia.
     
  • If you are happy using social media, you can connect with other stroke survivors through our Facebook groups too.
     
  • If you prefer to use the phone, SupportLine (01708 765 200) also offer confidential emotional support to anyone of any age. The Silver Line Helpline (0800 4 70 80 90) also offers friendship and advice to older people.
     
  • Talk to people on the phone, and send messages by email and messaging apps. You can talk face-to-face using video calls on apps (such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype and Zoom) too. Let them know what you’re going through and how you feel, so they can give you the support you need. Our guides to video calling are useful for everyone, and they're particularly helpful for people with aphasia.
     
  • Hobbies and interests are also a good way to keep your mind active, keep yourself distracted and keep going with your recovery. This could be a good opportunity to practise, or find a way to adapt, an activity you enjoyed before, or to try something new.
     
  • Find some great ideas for activities on our inspiring list of things to do at home. We've got suggestions for all sorts of things including crafts, online theatre experiences, gardening and learning.

Supporting a stroke survivor if you live apart

  • Keep in touch as much as you are able. A regular phone call to check on their wellbeing will make a difference.
     
  • Video messaging and sending photos by messaging apps or emails can be a good way to show that you are thinking of them. You can also play simple games via video messaging too, for example, Yahtzee, Pictionary and Charades.
     
  • If they don’t have access to the internet, write a short letter or a card or send photos in the post instead. Ask other friends or family members to do the same.
     
  • If you have children in your family or friendship group, get them involved by asking them to design a card or draw a picture too.
     
  • Encourage or the person to sign up to My Stroke Guide so they can join an online stroke community.
     
  • Remember to be patient. Not all stroke effects are visible, and some stroke survivors might be feeling low or anxious, especially at this time. Other things like fatigue and communication problems might be making them feel even more vulnerable, overwhelmed and cut off.

Support for carers

  • If you’re a carer, you might also be feeling lonely. It’s important that you look after yourself too. Use the advice above. Log in to My Stroke Guide to share your experiences with other carers. And remember the Stroke Helpline is there for you too. Call our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 or email helpline@stroke.org.uk.
     
  • Carer’s UK offers some great advice on looking after your emotional wellbeing at this time. They also provide the Jointly app which lets you set up a circle of care to communicate with the people involved in caring like family members, professional carers and friends. The app is £2.99 and is available for Android and Apple devices.

Stroke News magazine

This is an adapted version of an article featured in the Spring 2020 edition of our free magazine, Stroke NewsSubscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.