What Your Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Journey Looks Like
After a stroke, portions of the brain remain damaged. Post-stroke rehabilitation provides the strategies and focused practice that strengthen neuroplasticity. This rewiring of the brain’s circuits is key to relearning lost skills. After a stroke, seniors may experience weakness, loss of sensation, difficulty speaking, impaired coordination, walking challenges, weakened grip strength, and diminished eyesight. Disciplined therapy with expert instruction works to rebuild these abilities and can vastly improve a senior’s quality of life after a stroke.
Therapies Encountered in Post-Stroke Rehabilitation
Recovery journeys will look different for every individual. Rehabilitation plans should be customized for each person’s circumstances. Depending on what parts of the brain and body are damaged during a stroke and the senior’s age and abilities, different types of training may be beneficial. Speak with a doctor or therapists to get a more detailed understanding of the specific recovery plan. But any stroke recovery is likely to include several of the following therapies.
The rehabilitative team will assess the senior’s capacity to walk, transition from sitting to standing, transfer from a bed to a chair, and even roll over in bed. Based on those abilities, the team will set individualized goals and create a plan to achieve them.
Motor Skills Strengthening:
Therapists will help residents regain their ability to perform functional tasks — anything from buttoning clothes to cutting food, grooming oneself, and tying shoelaces. Muscle redevelopment, practicing fine motor movements, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation will likely be suggested in some combination as the senior requires.
After a stroke, muscles may constrict, and the tension can be difficult to ease. By moving limbs through their full range of motion, therapists can help seniors maintain flexibility and prevent joint contractures.
If a stroke affects the left hemisphere of the brain, it will likely impact the language center in one (or more) of three ways: dyspraxia, dysarthria, and aphasia. Aphasia is the most common condition — this language disorder affects both communication and comprehension. Dysarthria causes weakness in the tongue, lips and mouth that control speech. Dyspraxia deteriorates the muscles that produce and amplify the voice. Speech therapists help residents in addressing each of these afflictions.
Under a doctor’s guidance, people recovering from a stroke may be prescribed medication to promote ease of movement, increase alertness or decrease agitation. Doctors may also suggest antidepressants to help their patients cope with the rapid change of circumstances.
Ability changes after a stroke can make it difficult to live independently. Occupational therapists can help seniors adjust their environment to their current abilities and find adaptive tools to account for new challenges. This type of therapy is far-reaching, and the goal is to help the senior become as independent as possible. Achieving this goal could mean procuring mobility devices (like walkers or canes), suggesting clothing that’s easier to put on and take off every day, teaching new strategies to open packages, researching transportation services, or breaking down activities into small, manageable steps — and more.
Post-stroke rehabilitation can begin as quickly as 48 hours after the senior’s condition has been stabilized. Short-term rehabilitation at senior living communities like Freedom Village of Bradenton provides 24-hour staffing, access to expert senior care services and rehabilitative therapies, as well as everyday personal needs — such as dining, housekeeping, laundry services and transportation. This all-inclusive care can begin a senior’s stroke recovery on the best foot possible. If you’d like to find out more about post-stroke rehabilitation at Freedom Village of Bradenton, get in touch with us. A member of our team would be happy to answer any questions you have.