My mother had a stroke 2 weeks ago will her mental state improve??

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother had a stroke 2 weeks ago, It was on the right side of her brain so has effected the left side of her body. she can not move her arm at all, can only lift her leg about 6 inches, she still hasn't been able to eat because she has a problem when she swallows, whatever she swallows goes into her lungs and she starts to choke. Her mental state has also been effected, she is very confused and mixes everything up, she keeps asking the same questions over and over, now she is getting very paranoid and agitated. I know they do physio to try get her body working but is there anything they can do for her mental state or is this how shes going to stay???

Expert Answers

Laura Juel is an occupational therapist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. She works in the Outpatient Occupational Therapy Program and the Duke Driving Program for older drivers.

The brain controls many functions of our body; our ability to control our body, think, and how we also perceive things. A stroke is an interruption of blood flow to an area of the brain therefore, disrupting certain brain areas to communicate with each other. This all happens very suddenly but takes weeks, months, years to recover. There is no set answer for how long it will take to see some improvement, I tell my patients that we usually see the greatest amount of recovery within the first 6 months, after that, as the brain continues to heal, recovery continues for years but at a much slower rate. No one can predict how much she will improve after her stroke but participating in a rehabilitation program will help her maximize her potential. Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy are all integral parts of the rehabilitation process. The speech and occupational therapists will help your mother understand her 'changed' body, work on strengthening and other strategies to improve her ability to be more independent in everyday tasks. The therapists can also help in structuring her day, participating in therapy has a nice side effect, patients often get tired and sleep well, less likely to disrupt the sleep wake cycle. Keep a log of tasks she is doing on a daily or weekly basis, this will help both you and her see that she is making progress. Be supportive, enlist the help of therapists for guidance and education on the rehabilitation process.