Stroke survivor disabilities are common
25% of stroke survivors end up with a minor disability and 40% have moderate-to-severe disabilities. Survivors often have physical weakness, pain, and unusual muscle tightness.
These impairments can affect the ability to walk, to get up from a chair, to eat independently, to write, and many other ordinary activities.
Rehab helps stroke survivors regain abilities
Rehabilitation and physical therapy helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when parts of their brain are damaged. Even though some parts of the brain aren’t working anymore, other parts of the brain can learn to help out or take over.
This can mean learning to coordinate leg muscles to walk or learning to dress with only one arm. Rehab also teaches survivors new ways of doing things to compensate for disabilities or create new brain pathways for that skill.
The most important part of any rehab program is practice – just like when learning to play an instrument or sport. Frequent, repeated exercise helps strengthen and stretch damaged muscles and builds new brain pathways.
Two free at home stroke therapy exercises
Exercising at home lets your senior get more practice retraining their brain. We found two great stroke therapy exercise videos created by two physical therapists. One video focuses on the affected arm and the other on lower body movements. Both are free to watch on YouTube.
Your senior can do the exercises anytime once they learn the simple moves. Of course, you should first check with their doctor or physical therapist to make sure these are safe for their condition.
1. Arm exercise
This simple, but effective arm exercise slowly builds up strength and increases mobility for the affected arm. You’ll learn how to use the strong arm to help the weaker one in the exercise.
2. Lower body exercise
These 3 lower body exercises help loosen tight muscle areas, strengthen muscles, and help bring the pelvis forward. You can modify the level of difficulty to match your senior’s current level of ability.
If your older adult’s lower body is too weak right now to do these exercises independently, you’ll get tips on how to help you senior until they get strong enough to do them on their own.