A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted for some reason, such as a blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel. If the blood flow is stopped for more than a few seconds, the brain can't get any oxygen and brain cells can die, causing permanent damage. Strokes can vary in severity from mild to severe, and symptoms depend on what part of the brain was damaged. Some stroke victims are asymptomatic and might not even realize they have suffered a stroke, while others are severely impaired in motion, speech and even brain function. Gifts for stroke victims depend on the severity of the injury.
Some of the most useful gifts for stroke victims, and gifts that will likely be appreciated the most, are those that can be used for therapy or help the stroke victim get on with his life. Choosing a gift in this category depends on the injury, and the severity of that injury. For stroke victims whose mobility has been impaired, consider a classy, elegant cane, maybe monogrammed, or a high-end walker or wheelchair. Water therapy often is prescribed for stroke victims. If he doesn't have his own pool, consider a membership to a public pool or gym. Hand weights, a treadmill and a stationary bicycle also are good gift options.
Many stroke victims have problems with peripheral vision or movement that impacts their ability to drive. And this sudden loss of mobility, of independence, can be hard to take. So why not give your stroke-victim friend the gift of transportation? Consider a bus or train pass, or a voucher good for a certain number of taxi or even limo trips. Better yet, offer to drive the stroke victim yourself. You can even create your own little coupon book good for, say, trips to the doctor, or sightseeing drives along the coast, or field trips to the local museum or park.
Food is very often a big problem for stroke victims, simply because they can't get around as well as they used to--either around the house or outside of the house. Lest they order takeout pizza every day, contact various gourmet meal delivery services and arrange for a special Sunday dinner each week for a certain period of time. Or be inventive and bring them food yourself, maybe 10 special meals from the stroke victim's 10 favorite restaurants in her city. A gift basket of savory favorites would also work.
Pictures have been an integral part of occupational therapy for stroke victims for years. So now might be a good time to create a custom photo book filled with pictures of family and friends, or documenting past vacations or holidays, or chronicling the stroke victim's own life. Kodak Gallery offers a variety of custom, professionally produced photo books ranging from hardbound coffee table-style books to smaller pocket books. All you need to do is upload the digital photos and write the captions.
Don't laugh. A 2005 study lead by Dr. Mark Hallett, chief of the human motor control section with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, found that stroke victims who played virtual reality games in which they pretended to snowboard or dive eventually were able to improve their own ability to walk. Hallett said the virtual reality therapy also was a good way to keep the 10 patients involved in the study engaged. A good gift, then, might be a Nintendo Wii or PlayStation 3 console and a membership card to Blockbuster, which rents video games.