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Managing Activities of Daily Living

Most stroke survivors are able to return home and resume the activities that they were involved in prior to experiencing stroke.

However, changes following stroke may impact your ability to perform daily activities. Activities of daily living include: dressing, grooming, eating, bathing, and toileting.

The decision of going home after a stroke depends on your ability to care for yourself. Self-care involves those daily living activities that individuals perform on their own behalf to maintain life, health and well-being. Participating in occupational therapy may help you to be independent in these activities. Establishing a routine and repetitive practice of activities of daily living will also help you to become more independent.

What are tips for dressing?


What are tips for grooming? 

  • Use squeeze bottles and soap dispensers, which may be easier to use compared to slippery bar soaps.
  • Use suction pads to hold grooming tools in place on a counter, requiring just one hand to pick up or use. Suction pads can be found at any local retail store.
  • Use a flip-top toothpaste tube rather than one with a twist on cap.
  • Use an electric toothbrush or one with a large handle that will be easier to grasp.

What are tips for eating?



What are tips for bathing?

What are tips for toileting?

  • Begin a toileting schedule in which you go to the bathroom around the same time each day, such as when you wake up, before and after meals, and before bed
  • Use a cane, walker, wheelchair, or grab bars to stabilize and balance yourself whenever you get on or off the toilet.
  • Install a raised toilet seat or toilet seat riser to reduce the distance and difficulty in sitting down and getting up.
  • Use a three-in-one commode chair with a raised seat, grab bars, and a removable bucket. It can be kept near a bed or chair or used over an existing toilet with the bucket removed.
  • Use disposable underpants just in case you have an accident
  • Keep a change of clothing handy in the bathroom or with you for the unexpected. Also take a change of clothes and extra underpants for trips outside of the home
  • Try this website for more information about toileting:

Completing these activities of daily living independently may be very important to you as a stroke survivor. However, some tasks may require assistance from others. It is alright to ask for help.

The following are websites to provide you with more information about activities of daily living:

Recovery After A Stroke: Managing Life At Home:

Tips for Daily Living:


American Stroke Association. (2009). Patient fact sheets. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from

Haslam, T., & Beaulieu, K. (2007). A comparison of the evidence of two interventions for self-care with stroke patients. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 14(3), 118-127.

Jacelon, C. (2011). The specialty practice of rehabilitation nursing. Glenview, IL: Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

Johansson, A., Mishina, E., Ivanov, A., & Bjorklund, A. (2007). Activities of daily living among St. Petersburg women after mild stroke. Occupation Therapy International, 14(3), 171-182.

Written in 2009 by Kalisha Ivey, MSN at the University of Toledo for the Caring~Web. Revised 2012.

Last Updated: 5/26/16