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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Stroke: Perception Changes

Stroke: Perception Changes

Overview

When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a person's ability to judge distance, size, position, rate of movement, form, and the way parts relate to the whole is affected (spatial-perceptual problems). People with these problems may have more trouble learning to care for themselves.

Signs of perception problems are often noticed by the caregiver of a person who has had a stroke. These signs may include:

  • Not noticing people or things on the affected side and turning their head or eyes to the unaffected side. The person may not be able to steer a wheelchair through a large doorway without bumping the door frame.
  • Not being aware of body parts on the affected side.
  • Having trouble recalling how to form numbers and letters, or confusing similar numbers. The person may not be able to add numbers.
  • Having trouble recalling the written spelling of words. The person may not be able to read.
  • Confusing the inside and outside of clothing or the right and left sides of clothing.
  • Having a hard time knowing when they're sitting or standing.

Helping someone who has perception changes

If a person has perception problems after a stroke, the stroke rehab team can teach you how to help. Here are some examples.

  • Help prevent a fall.
    • Cut down on clutter.
    • Make sure that rooms are well lit.
    • Install night lights in the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Avoid rapid movements around the person.

    Other people moving around in the room also may be distracting.

  • Mark lines on door frames or full-length mirrors.

    This can help the person see what is vertical.

  • Do not overestimate the person's abilities.

    Watch to see what can be done safely rather than taking the person's word for it.

  • Help the person do a task.
    • Tell the person how to do things if they have trouble remembering how to do a task.
    • Put your hands in your pockets to keep yourself from gesturing as you talk the person through the steps.
    • It may also be good to have the person talk through the task.
    • Give lots of praise.
  • Break tasks into small steps.
    • Encourage the person to slow down and check each step carefully.
    • Don't nag. Nagging may cause the person to become angry and upset.
  • Arrange transportation.

    People with perception problems-—even minor ones—should not drive a car.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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