Managing loneliness and isolation

Many of us are now staying at home or no longer going into a workplace, to slow down the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We know that for stroke survivors and carers who are coming to terms with the after-effects of stroke, this could be an especially lonely time.

Whether your stroke was recent or some time ago, the current situation could have a big impact on your emotional wellbeing. So it’s important to recognise how you’re feeling and think about ways to get support.

If your stroke was recent, find out more about what help is available to you.

How can I reduce my feelings of loneliness while I’m at home?

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. You can call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100 and speak to someone who understands what a stroke means. We’re here to listen and can help you to find out what support is available to you.

Supporting a stroke survivor if you live apart

  • Our 'Connect and chat' volunteer telephone support service is for anyone affected by stroke, including carers. Contact our Helpline to request this service.

  • We also have a telephone peer support service for people who have recently had a stroke. It puts you in touch with another stroke survivor. They can spend time listening, and understanding what you are going through. Contact our Helpline to request this service.

  • Meet others affected by a stroke on our forums. It’s free and easy to register. You can connect with stroke survivors and carers around the UK on the forums. There is also guidance, information and support to help manage your recovery.
  • Our guide to getting online is useful for anyone who would like to know more about using the internet, and it's particularly helpful for people with aphasia.

  • If you are happy using social media, you can connect with other stroke survivors through our Facebook groups too.
  • If you prefer to use the phone, SupportLine (01708 765 200) also offer confidential emotional support to anyone of any age. The Silver Line Helpline (0800 470 80 90) also offers friendship and advice to older people.

  • Talk to people on the phone, and send messages by email and messaging apps. You can talk face-to-face using video calls on apps (such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype and Zoom) too. Let them know what you’re going through and how you feel, so they can give you the support you need. Our guides to video-calling are useful for everyone, and they're particularly helpful for people with aphasia.

  • Hobbies and interests are also a good way to keep your mind active, keep yourself distracted and keep going with your recovery. This could be a good opportunity to practise or find a way to adapt, an activity you enjoyed before, or to try something new.

  • Find some great ideas for activities on our inspiring list of things to do at home. We've got suggestions for all sorts of things including crafts, online theatre experiences, gardening and learning.

  • Keep in touch as much as you are able. A regular phone call to check on their well-being will make a difference.

  • Video messaging and sending photos by messaging apps or emails can be a good way to show that you are thinking of them. You can also play simple games via video messaging too, for example, Yahtzee, Pictionary and Charades.

  • If they don’t have access to the internet, write a short letter or a card or send photos in the post instead. Ask other friends or family members to do the same.

  • If you have children in your family or friendship group, get them involved by asking them to design a card or draw a picture too.

  • Encourage the person to sign up for My Stroke Guide so they can join an online stroke community.

  • Remember to be patient. Not all stroke effects are visible, and some stroke survivors might be feeling low or anxious, especially at this time. Other things like fatigue and communication problems might be making them feel even more vulnerable, overwhelmed and cut off.

Support for carers

  • If you’re a carer, you might also be feeling lonely. It’s important that you look after yourself too. Use the guidance above. Log in to My Stroke Guide to share your experiences with other carers. And remember the Stroke Helpline is there for you too. Call our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 or email helpline@stroke.org.uk.

  • Carer’s UK offers some great advice on looking after your emotional wellbeing at this time. They also provide the Jointly app which lets you set up a circle of care to communicate with the people involved in caring like family members, professional carers and friends. The app is £2.99 and is available for Android and Apple devices.

Stroke News magazine

Stroke News magazine is now available to view online, you can read our previous editions on our corporate website and subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.

My Stroke Guide YouTube channel

You can now watch all of our videos on a range of topics such as mental health, exercise after stroke, hobbies and leisure and many more. We hope that watching these videos will help you in your recovery journey.

Information

Other resources

Stroke Association
Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Email: helpline@stroke.org.uk
Contact us for information about stroke, emotional support and details of local services and support groups.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
Publishes the Counselling & Psychotherapy Resources Directory. This lists organisations, counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK. Some counsellors operate a sliding scale of charges according to income.

Counselling directory
Website listing recognised and qualified counsellors and psychotherapists with a postcode search facility.

Different Strokes
Phone: 0845 130 7172
Email:info@differentstrokes.co.uk
A charity for younger people affected by stroke.

MIND
Phone: 0300 123 3393
Email: info@mind.org.uk
MIND is a national mental health charity offering a range of publications and information to local services and support groups.

Inspire Wellbeing
Phone: 028 9032 8474
NI/UK email:hello@inspirewellbeing.org
Ireland email: dundalk@inspirewellbeing.ie

Support in MIND Scotland
Phone: 0300 3231 545
Email: info@supportinmindscotland.org.uk
Supports people with mental health problems in Scotland, offers information, support and a drop-in resource centre.

RELATE
Relate offers counselling services for every type of relationship nationwide. They provide advice on marriage, LGBT issues, divorce and parenting.

Apps from MyTherappy
NHS approved and recommended stroke apps for survivors and carers ranging from communication, eating and drinking, healthy lifestyle, vision and more.

Disclaimer: The Stroke Association provides the details of other organisations for information only. Inclusion on My Stroke Guide does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement.