I would like to share about personality changes that can happen to stroke survivors. Personality or behavioral changes are rather difficult for family members and caregivers to understand and get accustomed to. Suddenly that person seems different, for example from a caring nature to apathy!
Apart from depression, which is quite normal for stroke survivors to experience, there are other emotional deficiencies such as frustration out bursts or short temper due to difficulty of speech, memory loss, forgetfulness, and lack of clarity in thoughts. These are all rather frustrating and debilitating to the stroke survivor. Short-term memory loss seems to be associated with people with left-brain stroke. Problem solving ability is sometimes affected and this may give rise to deficiencies in their awareness and ability to do things. They think that they can do things but they really can’t! This was the reason Rock rolled down the stairs twice! She tried to do things independently, but she was not ready for that, but she could not understand that.
Another common problem stroke survivors experience is the lack of awareness of the affected side! Caregivers and family members must keep reminding the stroke survivor about this. One way to stimulate awareness is to always speak to the survivor from the affected side to force him or her to turn towards you when you are speaking. This will help to reduce their personal neglect of the affected side.
Personality changes may be temporary and sort of mellow out in time, but it can be permanent. In situations where it involves impulsiveness or inappropriate behavior, behavioral intervention may be needed. Consistent verbal and visual cuing and repeated reminders will help the stroke survivor. Personality changes are opportunities for guilt, despair, anger and shame for the survivor as well as caregivers and family members. It will be helpful to join a local support group and use that to voice out and discuss problems and learn from the experience of others. It is important for the stroke survivor to remain active and to be around people.
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