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Stroke Survivor, Peter Blair, Shares His Top-Ten Tips For Stroke Survivors 10

In July of 2005, Peter Blair had a stroke. It changed him dramatically. He went from a fully functioning adult running his own business to an old and rather simple child. He was forced to retire from full time work and though he has recovered some ability, he still has learning difficulties, aphasia, hemianopia and memory problems.

While recovering he learned about some of the hidden social effects of stroke and how to deal with them, and it is that knowledge that he wants to share with other survivors, their families and care-givers.

Deal With Aphasia

People with aphasia can have difficulty getting their message across. In  some cases they may even lose their power of speech. They can have problems understanding everything that is being said to them and difficulties reading text such as newsapers and books.

Aphasia can affect every aspect of social, personal and work life. Many people stop working because they have difficulty communicating. Although things may get better over time, some people who become apahasic after a stroke never fully recover their previous fluency with langauage. 

If you have aphasia there are things you can do to make communication easier for yourself. You can explain to people that you have the condition by using printed cards which state that you have difficulty communicating. Your local library will have talking books and newsapapers if reading is a problem. Using a computer may help if spelling is difficult.

It will also help when you are talking to others if you have a pen and paper handy to write or draw what you want to say. It will help too if you can stay calm, use gestures or point to key words or pictures if you cannot think of the correct word. Or you might try to describe something differently, to get your point across.

Problems may arise in making choices, even at a very basic level. For example when offering tea or coffee to someone with aphasia it is important to do it in stages and start by asking "Do you want tea?". Wait for a nod or smile before asking if milk is required. Then finally go through the same process for sugar. If tea is refused, repeat the same routine for coffee. 

Turning off background noise from a TV or radio will reduce distraction.

Aphasia Friends is a self-help group for people living with aphasia after a stroke which meets every second Wednesday of the month at the Shiremoor Centre in Shiremoor, North Tyneside.    


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By: Peter Blair, Stroke Survivor since July 2005

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1 Fight the fear

2 Be determined

3 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

4 Get out and about

5 Embrace technology

6 Get organised

7 Change your lifestyle

8 Admit to your condition

9 Realise the importance of respite care

10 Deal with aphasia

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