ust because someone is home from the hospital
does not mean that all is normal and they are
running on all cylinders. Their brains have been
injured, and it takes time and the compassion
and patience of friends for them to recover.
It is important to let survivors respond to this
situation in their own way, without trying to meet the
expectations of others who have not experienced a
What to Understand About
• It is extremely common. As many as 70 percent of
stroke survivors experience fatigue.
• Post-stroke fatigue can happen whether there has
been any exertion or not.
• Post-stroke fatigue doesn’t always get better after a
survivor takes a break, or gets rest.
• Sometimes there may be outwardly noticeable signs
of fatigue, other times there may not.
• Some fatigue may be a side effect of medication.
• Post-stroke fatigue is unpredictable. Some survivors
experience good days and bad days. For some it is
all day, every day.
• Some survivors may be doing well then suddenly “hit
• For some, “hit the wall” episodes may decrease over
time, but they still may generally feel that they don’t
have the energy to do what they want and need to do.
• As a survivor tires:
they may become clumsy
their speech may be affected
their ability to understand, comprehend or
recall may be compromised
they may get irritable
they may experience increased emotional lability
(crying or laughing with no apparent trigger)
• People who have made otherwise remarkable
recoveries still may not be able to return to work
because of post-stroke fatigue.
What Can Help
• If energy is better at a certain time of day, take
advantage and plan activity around that.
• For mental fatigue, sitting quietly with low sensory
stimulation (keep noise, light and activity in the area
to a minimum) may be better than a nap.
• Schedule regular rest breaks or even a nap if needed.
• Factor in fatigue before any event or activity as well
as recuperation time after an event or activity.
• Survivors with fatigue should be conscientious about
maintaining energy reserves, rather than pushing
themselves into exhaustion.
Family members and friends can help by coming from
a position of compassion and understanding rather
than the expectation that everything should be better.
Others can’t always see it, but post-stroke fatigue can
be quite limiting.
UNDERSTANDING HOW POST-STROKE
FATIGUE AFFECTS YOUR LOVED ONE