22 March 2021

Considering a career change after a stroke?

In this guide you’ll find information about jobs for stroke survivors including how to access workplace accommodations and how to transition to a new career.

The impact that a stroke has on a person’s life and work is different for everyone. With the right support, many people are able to return to work after a stroke, though not always in the same capacity. For some, returning to their same job is a possibility. Others decide to make a career change and find work in a new role.

Returning to your current job

A person’s ability to return to work after a stroke will depend on the type of work they do, the progress of their recovery and how much support their employer can give them. 

People who have had a stroke can potentially return to a previous job by phasing duties back in, in line with medical and professional advice. This could involve doing a full time role in a part time capacity or reducing the number of responsibilities. 

Returning to the same workplace doesn’t always mean returning to the exact same role. Your employer may be able to adapt your role or offer you a different role within the same company. See below for ways in which the workplace and job duties can be adjusted.

Adapting your current role

Returning to work after a stroke can be a big change. Workplace adjustments can help you feel more confident about doing your job well. An occupational therapist can help assess your recovery progress and your workplace to make recommendations on the types of support that might be right for you. 

Work adjustments may include redesigning your role and limiting tasks that are out of your range. For example:
 
  • Eliminating heavy lifting or extended time on your feet to help manage fatigue and weakness. 
  • Scheduling breaks and using ergonomic equipment at your workstation can also help with managing fatigue and weakness.
  • Having a limited amount of meetings or phone calls can help if verbal communication is challenging. 
  • Technologies such as keyboards that are designed to be used with one hand and speech recognition software can help make computer based tasks more accessible.

Changing careers: reskilling and retraining

If returning to your previous job isn’t possible but you would still like to work, you could consider a career change. Some stroke survivors see it as an opportunity to re-evaluate their direction in life and reassess their career goals.

Below are some factors to consider when changing careers.

Think about your hobbies, skills, interests
Do you like caring for others or working with animals? Do you want a job where you can express yourself creatively? Or do you have a passion for technology? Everyone is different, and it’s important to look for jobs that are aligned with your unique interests, skills and abilities.

What work environment is best for you?
Do you thrive off fast paced busy environments or do you prefer slow and quiet workplaces? Would you like to work in an office, outdoors or from home? Think about which types of workplaces will be safe and accessible for you.

Research your dream job
Some jobs may sound great on the surface, but it’s important to know what the job is like on a day to day basis. Research what the daily tasks someone might do in that job. You may wish to talk to someone who works in the field to get a first hand perspective.

Consider your limits
Will you need accommodations to do the job well? Think about how particular roles can be adapted to suit your abilities. An occupational therapist can help guide you in this area.

Will you need to train or upskill?
For some roles, you may be able to transfer your existing skills and experience. For others, you may need to retrain or upskill. Consider how much training you can or are willing to undergo.

Jobs for stroke survivors

Job searching can be a long process and it’s important to take it at your own pace. There is no one size fits all job for stroke survivors. People who have survived a stroke work in a wide range of fields and job roles. 

If you’re not sure what jobs might be a good fit for you, it can help to talk your options through with an Employment Consultant. Below are some job ideas to get you started.

Work from home jobs
Working from home can help you manage fatigue and mobility issues. Many remote jobs are also flexible, allowing you to control your schedule better.
 
  • Copywriting
  • Transcribing
  • Graphic design
  • Video editing
  • Translating
  • Online tutoring
  • Editing
Jobs with limited physical tasks
Consider jobs which can accommodate for mobility issues, weakness or fatigue.
 
  • Administration
  • Information technology (IT)
  • Librarian
  • Retail
Jobs with limited verbal communication
If you struggle with verbal communication, consider roles which have limited meetings or customer interaction.
 
  • Factory worker
  • Visual artist
  • Photographer
  • Kitchen hand

Need a little help getting back to work after a stroke? APM is here for you.

If you’re worried about keeping your job or are having trouble finding work after a stroke, support is available. You could be eligible for a government funded program called Disability Employment Services. 

As Australia’s largest provider of Disability Employment Services, APM helps thousands of job seekers every week find jobs that suit their unique abilities, interests and skills. 

Ready to get to work? Get in touch today and let’s get started.

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