Top 5 Types of Post-Stroke Exercise for Seniors

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Recovering from a stroke can be a challenging and daunting process for seniors. A big part of this journey involves supervised physical therapy. But it’s equally important for senior stroke survivors to explore rehabilitative and therapeutic exercises that can be done at home with the help of family caregivers to regain capabilities and boost quality of life. Here are five of the best exercises of this nature that can be done after a stroke.

1. Stretches

Following a stroke, muscles and other soft tissues often become stiff. This stiffness could lead to muscle shortening, or contracting, and related joint issues. Manual stretching in a way that’s comfortable can gently stimulate and stretch the soft tissues that support joints and help with movement, flexibility, and range of motion.

As your senior loved one regains abilities, he or she may be able to do more advanced stretching exercises in a heated pool. Water’s natural buoyancy eases pressure on the body while still allowing beneficial stretching movements to be made. The heat from the pool can also increase circulation, which is good for all parts of the body, including a healing brain.

Older adults who need help exercising should consider professional in-home care. El Dorado County elder care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

2. Balance Exercises

Seniors are already susceptible to age-related changes that could affect balance and coordination. A stroke can amplify these problems, especially if one side of the body is in the process of regaining sensation and mobility, which is common after strokes.

Initially, sitting balance exercises may be safer and easier for senior stroke survivors to do to strengthen the core muscles that help with balance and coordination. Once your loved one is able to stand again safely, standing balance exercises, which may include clasping the hands together above the head and shifting weight from one side to the other, can play a role in getting both sides of the body to effectively work together again.

3. Brain-Stimulating Exercises

Even if your loved one didn’t have preexisting issues with dementia prior to a stroke, cognitive skills can still be affected after a stroke. Brain-stimulating exercises, such as playing board games or using online-accessible apps, can contribute to a boost in neural connections between affected and unaffected parts of the brain. Such mental exercises can also promote relaxation and ease stress for stroke survivors.

A professional caregiver can be a fantastic source of information and support for a senior recovering from a stroke. The type of homecare seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.

4. Hand Exercises

The ability to fully regain hand function is often one of the most difficult post-stroke tasks for senior stroke survivors. A good starting point is to help your loved one use and strengthen the unaffected hand to reduce the risk of stiffness and muscle weakness. Doing wrist and thumb extensions, performing putty and ball exercises, and working jigsaw puzzles are some of the specific hand exercises that may help your loved one regain full use of both hands post-stroke.

5. Eye-Based Exercises

After older adults have strokes, they may experience blurred vision, visual-spatial disorders, or similar vision-related issues. If this is a problem for your loved one, eye exercises may minimize visual limitations. Exercises of this nature may involve:

• Doing eye-tracking exercises
• Making multidirectional movements
• Doing eye focus and concentration 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. El Dorado County, CA, 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. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your loved one. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at (916) 358-3801 today.

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