Cognitive Exercises for Senior Stroke Survivors

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While physical exercise is certainly important for stroke recovery—especially within the first few months—it’s just as important for senior stroke survivors to take steps to regain their cognitive abilities. Cognitive exercises of this nature typically focus on exercising mental abilities such as problem-solving, thought processing, and mental clarity.

At Home Care Assistance of South Tampa, we take an innovative approach to brain health with our Cognitive Therapeutics Method™. This scientific technique targets memory, language, executive functioning, attention, and visual-spatial perception to boost brain function. Engaging our seniors in brain exercises is a key part of our Cognitive Therapeutics Method™.

Let’s take a moment to spotlight some of the top stroke recovery brain exercises designed to help with cognitive skills.

1. Brain Training Apps

Brain training apps give senior stroke survivors instant access to a wide variety of cognitive exercises via smartphones, tablets, or computers. These apps include entertaining and therapeutic games that improve cognitive function.

Lumosity is an award-winning cognitive training app that gives senior stroke survivors instant access to more than 60 different cognitive exercises. Each one is designed to strengthen various cognitive capabilities with games that are both therapeutic and entertaining. Similar brain training apps that can be used to boost your senior loved one’s cognitive skills post-stroke include:

• Constant Therapy
• Tactus Therapy
• Aura
• Thinking Time Pro

2. Board Games

Checkers and Connect Four are just two of the many simple yet fun board games that can help a senior recover cognitive abilities after a stroke. These games fine-tune problem-solving skills while also enhancing short-term memory and pattern recognition abilities. They also promote other essential cognitive skills such as scanning, organization, and information retention. The small physical movements often required to play board games can also boost fine motor skills. Playing board games is an excellent way to provide seniors with a rewarding form of socialization, which can lower stress, boredom, and anxiety. The small physical movements often required to play board games can also boost fine motor skills. An in-home companion caregiver can be a wonderful game-playing companion for your loved one.

3. Puzzles

When your loved one is waiting to start his or her next physical therapy session or simply looking for something to do, encourage him or her to browse through a puzzle book or use a puzzle app on a smartphone or tablet. What’s good about puzzle-based exercises, including crosswords, word searches, and number-based puzzles like Sudoku, is that they can be as simple or as challenging as your loved one prefers.

Playing puzzles helps reinforce connections between brain cells that become damaged after a stroke. Puzzles can also retrain parts of the brain responsible for:

• Math and logic skills
• Vocabulary and language
• Recall and recognition

Putting together puzzles also improves fine motor skills by stimulating hand-eye coordination.

4. Speech Therapy Exercises

Speech therapy exercises can also help senior stroke survivors boost their cognitive abilities because the exercises frequently used to enhance speech target parts of the brain that handle many different cognitive functions. These exercises also help a stroke survivor’s brain rewire its damaged language center, allowing the healthy parts of the brain to take over. Speech therapy exercises may include word games, tongue exercises, reading, and other language-based tasks.

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. South Tampa, FL, 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.

5. Arts and Crafts Projects

Because activities that involve coloring, painting, scrapbooking, and drawing require both creativity and manual dexterity, multiple areas in both sides of the brain are stimulated at the same time. This dual stimulation helps the brain rewire itself after a stroke, which could boost capabilities in a wide range of brain functions. Creating arts and crafts projects also improves muscle coordination, helping seniors regain strength to the side of their body affected by the stroke. Plus, activities of this nature also make it easier for senior stroke survivors to express themselves as they recover. Having these creative activities as an outlet for their thoughts and emotions helps stroke survivors relieve stress and improve their mood.

6. Music Therapy Exercises

Cognitive function and attention span are just some of the abilities that may be regained post-stroke by doing exercises involving music. Cognitive exercises falling into this category could be as simple and enjoyable as singing favorite songs, which can help with recall and memory lapses related to the stroke. Singing can also help improve seniors’ speech and boost their confidence, as many seniors who have speech difficulties after a stroke find it easier to sing along to a song.

Other forms of musical stimulation that may be appropriate for senior stroke survivors include:

• Singing in a group
• Playing favorite or familiar musical instruments
• Repeating beats on a drum or similar instrument in response to a pattern that’s played 

If your loved one wants to dance and is physically capable of doing so, learning simple dance steps can help improve coordination and balance.

Contact Home Care Assistance for Stroke Care and Cognitive Therapeutics Services

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 South Tampa at-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, as well as support with these types of cognitive brain exercises

Families looking for top-rated elderly home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized in-home Alzheimer’s care, in-home dementia caregiver, in-home stroke care, and in-home Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones when they face the challenges of aging. Call us today at (813) 302-7632 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.

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