Managing life after a stroke
How soon a person can return to work after a stroke depends partly on their level of disability, the type of work involved and any feelings about returning to work they might have. Some people feel quite tired after a stroke, and have difficulty carrying out any kind of physical activity for any length of time. Part-time work, at least in the early stages, may be a good idea. Unless the stroke has reduced their awareness of impairment, the person who has had the stroke is the best judge of when to return to work or other regular activities.
Even someone who appears to have made a full recovery after a stroke should not drive a car for at least a month, since the risk of another stroke is greatest during this time. First, they will need clearance by a doctor, who will be aware of the relevant government regulations. The stroke may have left subtle impairments, not always apparent, such as poor co-ordination, lack of awareness on one side, difficulties in judging distance, changes in vision, difficulties in concentration and confusion between left and right.
People who have had a stroke are encouraged to resume sexual activity. Most couples experience some difficulty in their sex life, but this is usually due to psychological factors rather than any disability caused by the stroke. A doctor can advise on getting help with psychological problems and other difficulties, such as erectile problems in men.
Sport and exercise
Physical activity and hobbies are an important part of rehabilitation - normal activity should be resumed as soon as physically possible.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol should be avoided after a stroke because it may trigger a bad reaction with medication and might raise blood pressure or affect judgement resulting in injury. Moderate consumption (2 standard drinks per day) should not cause any problems.
Nikki - a personal story
Watch this video about a patient’s experience after recovering from a stroke. Visit the Stroke Foundation website for more personal stories.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about stroke, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self-care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Last reviewed: July 2017