Many senior stroke survivors experience a decrease in motor skills, specifically in the hands and arms, which makes activities of daily living difficult or impossible to complete. Fortunately, with effective hand and finger exercises, senior stroke survivors can create new neural pathways in the brain to reactivate muscles affected by the stroke.
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. Huntsville, AL, 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.
To help first-time or inexperienced family caregivers provide high-quality support to their loved ones, here are a few exercises that can restore hand function and increase flexibility and strength among senior stroke survivors.
To facilitate movement, begin your loved one’s exercise session with hand and finger stretching to promote overall flexibility.
- Massage – Put a dime-sized amount of lotion in your loved one’s palm. He or she can then gently massage the lotion along each finger, from the base to the tip.
- Fist and open – Have your loved one make a fist and then open his or her hand, one finger at a time. Have your parent perform this sequence three times.
- Finger walk – Have your loved one make a peace sign with his or her hand, then direct the hand so the index and middle finger are pointing down. Then have your loved one walk his or her fingers across a table or flat surface.
A home caregiver can help your loved one do these exercises and others in safety and comfort. Families looking for top-rated elderly 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.
When it comes to regaining strength in the hands and fingers, the natural tendency is to use the unaffected side. However, this prevents the stimulus needed to prompt nerve regeneration. Encourage your loved one to try to perform activities with both hands.
- Folding – Fold paper in half and then in quarters, pressing on the edges after each fold. Construction paper is often preferred for this exercise because of its thickness.
- Cutting – Have your loved one use a pair of blunt scissors to cut through objects of different thicknesses. He or she should follow the sequence below as his or her hands get progressively stronger.
- Thin paper
- Aluminum foil
- Construction paper
- Magazine subscription cards
- Crumpling – Seniors should scrunch five sheets of scratch paper with both hands, then pitch them into a wastebasket.
- Wringing – Twisting a wet washcloth can promote strength in both of your loved one’s hands at the same time.
- Hanging clothes – Incorporate exercises into your loved one’s daily activities and have him or her help with laundry by attaching clothes to hangers with clothespins.
- Resisting a rubber band – Loop a rubber band around the knuckles of your loved one’s thumb and fingers. With your loved one’s palm facing up, have him or her open the hand, pushing the fingers against the rubber band. This exercise increases hand control.
Celebrate each accomplishment your loved one makes, even the smallest twitch of a finger. With practice, your loved one’s brain will create new neural connections, increasing overall hand function.
A professional caregiver can be a fantastic source of information and support for a senior recovering from a stroke. The type of senior home care Huntsville, AL, 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. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (256) 716-9940 to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.