Recently I talked with a group of stroke and brain injury survivors. The topic of returning to work after stroke came up. It’s a complicated decision for at least 3 reasons:
1. You may not be able to return to the same work or position that you had before.
2. If you have social security disability insurance, you may not lose benefits immediately if you go back to work.
3. It may be hard to anticipate the difficulties you will experience upon returning to work. Therefore, you may not have the appropriate accommodations set up upon your return.
So, if you are wondering about a return to work after stroke, what do you need to know? I found three resources that may be helpful as you make your decision. These resources refer to stroke specifically. But the same guidance can be used with other chronic conditions that affect working.
Return to Work After Stroke: What You Need to Know
- This article by Henry Hoffman covers important information about social security disability benefits. You might assume that if you start working again you lose your benefits. However, that’s not always true. If you are receiving SSDI benefits now, you may be able to keep them while you try a return to work.
- This Decision Tree from the American Stroke Association is also useful when thinking about work. This is true whether you want to return to the same job or are considering a new job. Here, you will also find resources to help you think about new skills if that seems more appropriate for you.
- Finally, once you have decided to return to work after stroke, it may be difficult to anticipate the accomodations you will need. In this video, Lori talks about the unexpected things she experienced upon return to work after stroke:
- lower productivity
- difficulty multi-tasking
- challenges communicating with a group of people.
Her initial return to work was rocky because she did not know what her limitations would be. And neither did her employer. Thinking about what you’ll need before returning to work is important. Anticipating needs ahead of time can create improve understanding between you and your employer. But it is also important to have flexibilty to make more changes once you return.
Finally, if you decide a return to work after stroke is not the right choice for you, what else can you do? Think about the talents and abilities you can still offer to your community. Is there a volunteer job that would be perfect for you? Work at church or in your community that you can assist with? Don’t underestimate what you may be able to offer to family, friends, and community following stroke or brain injury.
Returning to work after stroke can be a big decision. There are many things to consider. If you need help thinking through a return to work, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation. I am a wellness coach that helps people living with stroke and brain injury live as well as possible. I’ll help you work through the concerns you might have about work and create a plan of action.
Disclaimer: This blog is a resource through which you may obtain information regarding your health and wellness. Information is intended for the general reader and is not a substitute for medical advice. The content in this blog is intended to be informational only and not interpreted as specific advice for you. There may be delays, omissions, or inaccuracies in information contained in this blog. You should always consult with a licensed healthcare professional who is familiar with your health and past medical history before making any changes you may read about in this blog.