Help for my mother

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum and would very much like to hear from people in a similar situation: my 74 year-old mother suffered a very severe stroke last year which has caused aphasia, the inability to eat or drink as well as unilateral paralysis (right-hand side). To make matters worse she has now become very depressed and seems to have 'given up' (her GP has prescribed anti-depressants but these are not working as well as we had hoped). Sadly, not much progress is being made and my mum is unwilling to co-operate and refuses to even leave her bed (she is being looked after in a care home) so she can sit in an armchair or wheelchair. It breaks my heart to see her like this, not wanting to accept any help, no matter how well-intended, and not wanting to help herself. Does anybody have a similar story they might like to share with me? I would be grateful for any help. Thank you.


Dear Micha

I dont have a similar story to tell you.

I do however know that my local stroke groups has a day for carers. That would be a good thing for you.

I also know that Mums disabilities are so typical of a stroke survivor. And her actions are a determined effort to avoid recovery. 

What a terrible dilema for you. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

I do not know of anyone who has recovered much unless they make the effort themselves. Your support is great, but its all down to us, the SS, if we want recovery.

Please try to accept that you can not make Mum recover. Be there for her. But dont beat yourself up. Its Mums choice and you can not change that.

I have read about SS who do not try and then one day they spark in to action, which would be great. Then you can help Mum to help herself.

As I say often, Mum was chosen to survive. She is special for that reason alone.

I am two years younger than Mum. I was pretty comprehensively paralysed. A bit of aphasia and plenty of other bits and pieces. I could feel the waves of depression getting at me.

Four years on the aphasia is neglible. I walk, drive a bit, garden, do housework etc. I will never stay in bed during the day. From the minute I came around I would always use a chair and not the bed. 

It seems that the first two years are critical. So its not too late for Mum. In fact it is never too late. Recovery can come at any time.


Hi Micha. Stroke affects people in different ways, often for reasons unknown. Just after I had my stroke four years ago, a friend's husband also had a stroke. We were, briefly, on the same hospital ward. Like Colin, fortunately, I had the grit and determination to make progress. My friend's husband didn't. He refused to exercise, refused help and just lay there.

Eventually, he went home, but remained bed bound and depressed. He has carers  daily, but once they get him in a chair that is it. He just sits there depressed and seldom talks. He does no exercise whatever.

All you can do is encourage mum to do little things and hope a spark will light up to motivate her. Hard work and persistence pay off. I have gone from being hoisted in and out of bed to being able to walk with a stick, cook, bake and change a bed. That doesn't mean to say I don't get low moods, but I fight my way through them. I fight every day to improve further, despite progress now being somewhat slower.

I understand how powerless you feel, but mum must want to help herself to stand any chance of improving. All the best.

Hello and thank you so much for your reply. I found it very helpful and have taken your comments on board.

Thank you again and all the best to you, too.


Dear Colin,

My heartfelt thanks for your lovely message. Reading your words gives me strength to carry on and not lose hope. For this I am very grateful so thank you very, very much.

All the best for you.

Michaela (Micha)


Dear Micha

Gosh I wont get my head through the door.

It is easy to know how another SS is getting along, because I am an SS. No one other than a SS will really understand.

When I was about 12 months then I could relate totally to those who have recently had a stoke, but by the time I was 36 months post stroke then I couldnt relate so much.

You cant see in to Mums head. And if you ever met me, you would not know I had a stroke. But theres still a lot of issues buzzing around. Its a standing joke for SS..."you look so well".

It is miserable for the carers. You can not see her getting normal again, yet our DNA will expect recovery. No one ever has a full stroke and gets back to normal. We have to aim for a new normal and then we are a different person. Four years ago, when the stroke bit me, statistics indicated that 65% of couples split up after a stroke. I think that says a lot.

I am so keen to make myself useful. That will make sense of my life. I am an FCA, but no way can I do any of that again. I cant even do my own tax return.

However, I can make tea at local events and wait on tables. SO I am contributing a little. At first I could just about remember two peoples tea or coffee request. So the tea making was a struggle. But now I can do ten people and that is an achievement. Besides, who says a chartered accountant is as good as a tea lady ?

Hope my rambling is making sense.

Do come on the forum and ask. So many good people are on here.

And do please get along to a group of fellow carers. You will learn so much to your benefit and to Mums benefit.

Good luck



I thought about your Mum today.

One wonderful part of my recovery is my cat. He adopted us and as I dont leave the house for more than two hours and I have endless time to pet him then I thought it was fine. We never had a pet before.

The great thing is that he treats me as I am. He doesnt mind that I had a stroke. He is patient if I struggle to bend down to him etc. And he is fantastic to calm my days. I love him to pieces. And he is great to have for company.

I wonder if Mum might react favourably to a cat ??

If she cant have one in the home, then would the home share one of these robotic cats ? They cost a bit over £100 so maybe that cost would have to be shared amongst the other residents. Or if Mum could have one she might be interested to show others.

Ironically they are actually available on Amazon !