Recovery time/expectations for a minor stroke

Hi all, 

I am after some advice. My mom is 61 and had a stroke on Tuesday (5th March 2019). We are all in a bit of shock and looking for some advice to ease our confusion. She has lost movement in her aerm and has limited movement in her leg (both left side). She does not have any problems with her speech or swallowing. Everything I have read is saying there is no timeframe for recovery, however, I am sure there are lots of you out there who can offer words of advice. She is currently in the acute ward at hospital and have been told she will be moving to a community rehab facility. What are we looking at? How long will it take her to get on her feet again? What should I be doing to support her? She is in shock and questioning why this has happened to her. 



Hi Danni, Sorry to hear about mom. Every stroke survivor is different, as are the facilities provided by health authorities. The hard work of recovery will begin in rehab. Once there, physio will start to get her standing, transferring to a chair and, hopefully, walking. Time in rehab varies. I was on my rehab ward a month. I then got taken on a home visit to see whether I could cope and what aids I would need. Age U.K. put in hand grips at the top and bottom of the stairs and a hand grip and seat in the shower. They also put an extra rail up the stairs. I was also lent two walking frames and they raised the sofa in my lounge.

When I came home I had to sleep downstairs for three weeks and I got six weeks physio from the Community Stroke Team. They taught me to climb the stairs, get in and out of the shower and how to use the kitchen safely. I also had a home visit from the Community Stroke Nurse and my doctor.

I live in Worcestershire and am aware that this level of support is not available everywhere. You need to talk to mom’s medical team about what support is available in her area. Also use the Stroke Association helpline for any other queries. They will also advise re benefits etc. Expect mom to get post stroke fatigue at some stage. This will mean she might need rest during the day as her brain starts to re-wire itself. I wish her a good recovery. Encourage her all you can but remember that it will take time. I am three years post stroke and still in recovery mode. I can, however, walk, bake, cook and do a little simple housework.

Hi Danni - Sorry to hear about your Mum. Shock is the worse part of the stroke for both your Mum and your family but as John mentions, it's a bit like how long is a piece of string regarding recovery.  I was 65 when I had mine and had the same symptoms as your Mum - also on the left side.  I had no movement in my arm and my leg was very contorted so although I could move it, I still couldn't walk.  I had no facial droop, no speech or throat problems so the same as Mum.

I was in hospital for a week in the Stroke Unit and then sent home.  There are no rehab facilities in our area and I wasn't offered any physio either in hospital or at home.  Before I came home however, I had to walk up and down the mandatory flight of stairs with or without aids. By the end of the 4th day, I was allowed to get out of a wheelchair and attempt to walk holding onto a nurse linking arms.  I walked up and down the ward and to the loo and back most of that day.  By the 5th day, I was allowed to go to the loo on my own (hooray!) I was walking like a drunk from side to side holding on to people's beds and the walls but I made it. At this point, I still couldn't move my left arm or hand/fingers so couldn't wash myself and eating was awkward. By the end of the week I was asked to try the stairs and if I made it, I could go home.  I did it so off home I went!

I was visited by an occupational therapist at home once a week for 3 weeks.  Then I was on my own. She gave me lots of fiddly things to practice picking up to get my hands working again. Little beads, small sticks, tennis balls to throw and catch, marbles, etc.  My fingers came back to life quite quickly except my little finger which was the first part of me to go numb when I had my stroke.  It's still a bit dodgy and goes cold quite quickly but at least it moves.  My walking was still wobbly and I had a severe limp for about 3 months.  It gradually got better with walking around the block and I found that driving helped strengthen my stroke leg moving the clutch.  I was cleared to drive after a month.

I suppose a lot depends on your Mum's fitness levels before her stroke. It also depends on the stroke after care in your area.  Ours is virtually non-existent.  I was referred by my GP for neurophysio which did help but I had to wait 7 months for this on the NHS.  As you will hear most of us survivors say, fatigue is the worst part.  When your Mum's brain is healing, she will be ultra tired. It does get better but takes a long while.  I am now 18 months post stroke and still need 45mins bed rest each day to get me through to the evening.

Hope that helps - sorry it's long winded but as I was similar to your Mum, I wanted to share as much info with you as I could. 

P.S, Forgot to say your Mum will be very emotional. Buckets of tears are all normal and part of the healing process. Her brain is in trauma. She will also be angry and ask "Why me?" a million times but try to remember she is not directing her anger and tears at you. It is her brain trying to make sense of what's  happened to it and trying to heal itself as quick as it can. A huge amount of healing is done in the first 3 months. Best wishes.

Dear Danni

So sorry to learn of Mums having a stroke. Do say hello to her from me. I was 68 when a stroke bit me and now three years and three months later I drive, cook, vacuum, garden and even do a little voluntary work.

Every stroke is different, although we have many common issues. 

A few factors:

Mum will soon be medically fit. Good starter.

She will need close monitoring for one month. Hospital, other facility or home, but close monitoring. After one month the likelihood of another stroke etc  reduces a lot.

Do start a stroke diary, preferably written by Mum, but if needs be by you. Just factual notes of how she is. You will find this a big help.

Do get a copy of her discharge letter (written by a hospital doctor and sent to her GP). It will give her exact diagnosis and she will need that over the next months and years.

Mum will have an excessive fear of a second stroke. This is instinct and doesnt mean she is going to have a stroke.  

Do get the stroke association information pack. It contains leaflets on various common stroke effects. Probably available from the hospital, or your GP or you can ask the SA direct. These leaflets will be a good source of info for you as well as Mum.

Post trauma shock is likely. Counselling is a very good help, must be someone trained/experienced in stroke.

Its good that Mum is due to go to a rehab facility. Very good. She must be recovering well to warrant that.

As my friends have mentioned, recovery can take any amount of time. I confirm that a lot of recovery is in the first three months. Good recovery also is had in the first two years. But its never too late for some recovery.

Can I politely suggest that she hasnt really had a minor stroke. A stroke is a stroke. There isnt much "minor" about what has happened to Mum.

I will mention what happened to me in week one but do not assume it will be like that for mum.

I was 90% paralysed. Speech was slow and agony. But I could eat and wanted to eat. On day 3 I awoke and, with five physios around me, I walked out the ward.I regard this as a miracle and I felt guilty because everyone else on the ward could not walk.

I was home in 5 days and was provided with a team who visited my home 5 days a week for six weeks. I live in an ideal bungalow and my wife was very keen to take me on (silly girl!). I had an intense willpower for recovery.

I also acquried a habit to write far too much so I will shut up now.

Mums not alone, lots if us are here.

Mum should smile four times a day.

Best wishes



Hi Danni love to your mum I had a stroke last July lost the full left side and the sight in the left hand side of both eyes I’m 32 and 6 months down the line Iam back on my feet still have slight left sided weakness but the majority is back, I get tired very easily and have two children to chase after so I feel people believe because they see me walking around and looking after them all is good, just lend a hand where you can house work and shopping was very scary for the first few months I joined a local stroke group which helped I also had a community occupational therapist come and review the house and had grip handles put in the bathroom and an extra hand rail on the stairs, there is a lot of help out there but I found you have to search for it yourself sadly 

Hi All,

Thank you for your responses. They have been very helpful in managing my expectations. Mom is back home now and is walking (albeit it not very far and with a walking stick). The battle has begun with the Community Stroke Team. Two weeks out of hospital and we've heard nothing from them. I have found out today that she was "missed off the referrals list" - not a great start! I am now beginning the hunt for support outside of this - specifically hydrotherapy (as we've read that it does wonders for stroke rehab) and possibly a private physio. 

Like all of you, my mom wants her life back! 

Thanks, Danni

Hi Danni,

Good news that your mum is back home and mobile again. We have a local support finder tool on the main website

If you want more advice on getting stroke support for your mum you can call our helpline on 0303 3033 100. They're really experienced and know how to help you get the right support.

Keep us updated


Hi i had sTroke in Oct and still recovering in hospital 5mnts i still have mo!ent in my left arm and can't walk yet very tired all the timerehabistuffhope your mum gets better soon but there's no quicksilver from mpyra