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Brain fog and confusion
My mother had a stroke on 8/29/2018 and is 79 years old. She is currently having issues with brain fog and confusion. It comes on strong like a headache and it is very distressing for her. What have others done to help with brain fog and confusion for their loved ones that have survived a stroke? Any feedback is helpful! Thank you.
AHAASAKatie, November 29, 2018 8:36am EST
Good morning, I am so sorry that your mother and your family are having to experience this. I can provide the information we have on cognitive challenges after a stroke. I can also share that my mom, 78, had a TIA this summer and has experienced more pronounced mental confusion and fuzziness as well. Please let me know if this is helpful for you at all. Best Katie
JimSinclair, December 2, 2018 8:37am EST
Unfortunately this is quite normal for many of us who have survived strokes. Fifteen years ago I experienced massive bi-lateral strokes and had to deal with this fog and confusion, which feels very similar to being lost, occasionally. I believed at times it happened when my brain was trying to process more information than it could handle. At those times the only thing that helped was to go lie down in a quiet room with my eyes closed and allow my thoughts to slow down. My greatest confusion cam when my wife was driving us somewhere that I used to drive. Eventually I realized that the problem was that she would drive a different route than I would have taken so what was happening was that things did not seem correct. Once my wife started to describe the route she planned to drive I would not be so confused. Sometimes for me confusion would occur when we were with groups of people and it would seem that everyone was talking at the same time. I learned to avoid those situations or be certain that my family and friends were aware that I had problems in these situations and might need to rest for a time, Family members can help by taking notice of the situations when confusion occurs, help the survivor recognize these situations, and be supportive of whatever the survivor needs to do to lessen the confusion.
I also find that having a very specific routine every day and always following that routine helps greatly. Having a place for everything and insuring that everything is returned to its place helps avoid confusion, Most Important is regular rest periods during the day. In my case many short rests of only 10 minutes works best
JKViggiano, December 3, 2018 7:23pm EST
Hi Gilmore 2018. My husband was much younger when he had his stroke but even 11 years later, he still struggles with brain fog and confusion. Here is what I have learned:
1. Exercise makes a huge difference. Walking, doing his exercises, and just moving around increased the flow of blood and oxygen to his brain. It makes him more alert and able to participate.
2. Sleep is good. All these years later, he still naps everyday when the fatigue comes on.
3. When he gets confused, especially when trying to speak, it really helps to start over. He might start over with a more defined statement such as "I'm going to tell you about my day." For some reason, it seems to clear his mind a bit.
4. It took several years for him to sort out the noises around him. Going to public places was difficult because all the noise and chatter blended together. We still limit our time in noisy places.
5. The more distressed he becomes, the worse the confusion. Sometimes I have to remind him that he has a terrible brain injury and even though things aren't perfect, he is doing great.
I hope this helps!
AmbassadorB, December 3, 2018 10:19pm EST
I just read through the 3 replies you've already received. They're excellent comments and suggestions for you. I am 88 and have had a number of experiences with my ticker, including open heart surgery - triple by-pass, and an aortic heart valve replacement, just to mention a couple. I say this, primarily to let you know what a fabulous record of medical advances have been made in recent years. Two observations: 1. Be sure that you, as primary care giver, have a clear understanding of what Mom's cardiologist has recommended and that your Mom understands and agrees with it. It should be a positive - improve her status Program! She's 79 - used to be old. Not any more! J.K.'s first point: "Exercise makes a huge difference." - the most important thing that she should be doing - is the difference between life and death! 2. Your role as a major care giver should have priority focus on mother's exercise program. Don't let it become a chore for her that she would like to bypass. Put some fun into it! Six to twelve months from now - with your love and active particiipation, you will be amazed at the improvement and good quality of life that she enjoys!
All the best!
Gilmore2018, December 3, 2018 11:02pm EST
Thank you all for the feedback! I will definitely be incorporating it in my mom's routine, i.e. exercise, sleep, rest, naps, quiet places and just being patient and helping explaining situations. I am in constant contact with her physician but having this community is really helpful!
AHAASAKatie, December 4, 2018 8:47am EST
Good morning, we are so glad for the opportunity to support both of you during this time. Please keep in touch and let us know how we can help. Best Katie
Nancyl1117, December 29, 2018 2:38pm EST
Hi! There are great tips in the replies. I had, I was told a pretty severe stroke 1/15/18. I have the brain fog and confusion as well. It makes me go crazy when trying to do too many things at one time. I can't do it. I understand now, ONE thing at a time. Still getting dizzy, so not too many outings by myself. At 66, my macular degeneration and diabetic problems were worse after the stroke, so lost my license. This is a whole new world for us. I have been blessed to not have much physically, but more with the brain confusion. As stated in the replies, understand that someone may be taking a different route while driving, make lists (I'm the queen of lists. lol) of everything to do daily, on the calendar, future to do lists, phone numbers and addresses. Calmness is essential. Working on ways to calm her. Easier to think. If she has any quiet things she likes to do...easy to watch TV, travel and cooking shows, look at family pictures, I do basic crochet when I can handle it, I used to be an artist long ago, so my daughter has asked me to draw unicorns for her and one of her and the baby (baby turned out great lol) as long as they understand it may not look like what we did the year before. My prayers go up for your mom. It must be so hard for her. Calming music is also good.