Monday, March 7, 2016

Smile, challenge and repeat

By Monica Vest Wheeler
Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp Staff Volunteer

During a visit, a family member saw the stroke survivor successfully raise her affected leg three or four inches off the ground and lower it. That was quite an accomplishment, but the visitor decided to have some fun.

“Oh, I didn’t see that,” she said, in a totally innocent voice.

The survivor played along. With a smile, she repeated the motion.

Isn’t that just a little more enticing than, “Lift that leg”?

Different fuels motivate us when we don’t want to do something or struggle with the task awaiting us. That’s just being human. Survivors battle even greater challenges, and we can lift that emotional load significantly by adopting some new game plans along the way.

• Challenge the survivor by saying, “Nah, you can’t do that.”
• Say “Don’t you do that!” in a playful tone. That often has the desired effect in encouraging them to do just the opposite.
• Use bribery whenever and wherever possible. Make it fun!

And just like the shampoo bottle says: shampoo, rinse and repeat. Only this time: smile, challenge and repeat.

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