Because the brain is involved when a stroke occurs, the resulting damage can affect both physical and mental capabilities. While the initial emphasis is often on physical recovery, cognitive recovery is equally important. Below you’ll find five of the top cognitive exercises that could contribute to your aging loved one’s recovery from a stroke.
1. Using Cognitive Retraining Apps
When a stroke occurs, a broad range of cognitive skills are affected. To address many of them in a fun, engaging, and productive way, consider using apps designed with this purpose in mind. Some of the more popular cognitive retraining apps include:
• Lumosity – This is an easy-to-use app that includes more than 60 cognitive exercises. Many of them involve entertaining games that maintain the user’s interest while stimulating the affected parts of the brain.
• Constant Therapy – This award-winning customized app boosts both language skills and confidence during stroke recovery. It includes more than 100,000 interactive exercises.
• Aura – Attention, mental flexibility, and information processing are the specific cognitive skills this app is designed to help stroke survivors increase, which is accomplished with guided meditation exercises.
Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Chandler, AZ, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.
2. Doing Puzzles
Damage to structures in the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, can affect fine control of movement, reasoning and similar thought processes, and visual interpretation. A simple and engaging way to help a stroke survivor regain some of these skills is with puzzles that appropriately stimulate the brain. Stroke survivors may need to go through some more basic therapy first before getting to the point where they can do crossword puzzles, word searches, or sudoku-style puzzles. When your loved one is ready, make puzzles a fun exercise by:
• Offering gentle suggestions and hints
• Doing a puzzle a little at a time at first to avoid unintentional frustration and anxiety
• Working more challenging word-based puzzles together
3. Playing Board Games
Stroke survivors often have difficulty solving simple problems during their initial stages of recovery. One way to restore problem-solving capabilities is with board games. Simple games like checkers and Connect Four can work just fine for this purpose.
An in-home caregiver can be a wonderful game-playing companion for your loved one. Families looking for top-rated at-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
4. Training Through Speech Therapy
Normally performed by a speech-language pathologist, speech therapy is done to increase language and communication skills in stroke survivors. The main focus is restoring or enhancing the ability to communicate. However, cognitive training, which is closely related to speech, is often part of a comprehensive speech therapy program. Sessions usually include a variety of exercises, some of which might involve:
• Pairing consonants and vowels
• Practicing tongue movements (e.g., up-and-down and side-to-side movements)
• Saying words like “cheese” or practicing “kissy faces” to enhance mouth motions
5. Engaging in Art Therapy
Creative exercises that involve some type of art, such as painting, drawing, or sculpting, stimulate both sides of a stroke survivor’s brain. Artistic endeavors are related to creativity, which is handled by the right side of the brain. However, if art therapy exercises involve hand use and coordination and the need to think logically about what’s being created, the left side of the brain is stimulated as well. This dual stimulation is beneficial for the enhancement of overall brain functioning.
A professional caregiver can be a fantastic source of information and support for a senior recovering from a stroke. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Chandler home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Call Home Care Assistance today at (480) 448-6215 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.