While certain rehabilitation exercises are essential for stroke survivors, many activities can help them relearn their skills and have fun at the same time. These activities work as informal therapy after stroke, which means that your brain heals while you’re having fun.
Not sure where to start? We found 15 fun activities that stroke survivors can do at home with little physical effort. No matter how much disability you have experienced from stroke, at least one of the below-mentioned activities is sure to appeal to you.
1 . Making and Listening to Music
If you were a music lover before the stroke, you will likely enjoy it even after it. Hearing a rhythm is a great way to maximize the potential for re-learning coordinated movements and to work on balance. You can also play on a keyboard or piano with your unaffected hand.
Singing along to music, too, is an easy and fun activity. Since music and language are stored in different areas of the brain, a stroke survivor who struggles with the spoken words may have no difficulty with singing a song.
2 . Dancing
The more you move your body, the more your movement will improve. Since dancing doesn’t have to be so cut-and-dry, do what feels right, even if it looks really weird. The more fun you have, the more therapeutic it will be!
3 . Painting
Painting is an excellent activity that can exercise your fine motor skills (through grip). Not to forget, using different colors and textures will help you stimulate the brain. Again, you don’t have to take it too seriously. It is important to make something simple or abstract at first.
4 . Cooking
Many may consider cooking a ‘mindless hobby.’ In reality, it is anything but mindless during stroke recovery. Relearning to cook after stroke initiates the Neuroplasticity and helps brain retrain. Here is a guide to one-handed cooking after stroke.
5 . Photography
Photography is both relaxing and creative. As long you are looking for a fun activity, point-and-shoot will help you work on your fine motor skills. Also, clicking pictures is a great way to practice creative expression without much physical effort. Here’s a guide to Indulging in Photography after Stroke.
6 . Gardening
Gardening can help improve stamina, balance, and coordination after stroke. Maintaining a garden at home can offer you good exercise and time outdoors. Here is a stroke survivor’s guide to gardening at home.
7. Stream-of-Consciousness Writing
Writing can be a fun way to challenge anyone’s critical thinking and language skills. Though, writing can be particularly challenging if the survivor has aphasia. In that case, doing a “stream of consciousness” writing session will be helpful. During the session, the survivor is asked to simply write down everything that comes to his/her mind.
8 . Touch-typing
When writing by hand is too hard, it can sometimes be easier to type messages digitally. That’s because keyboarding trains muscle memory in the fingers to remember the spelling and helps with word recovery after stroke. Repetitive drills reinforce learning and hence help you stimulate the brain.
9 . Tai Chi
Tai Chi is another fun activity that also doubles as physical therapy. Since Tai Chi promotes balance, it can help stroke survivors prevent falls. Your instructor can modify it as per your physical competency.
10 . Sudoku
Brain training games improve cognitive skills and help prevent (or even reverse) post-stroke Dementia. Completing a mental task like Sudoku stimulates the brain, creating more complex connections between brain cells. Sometimes, Sudoku can be challenging, so choose “easy” versions of the game.
11. Jigsaw Puzzle
Putting together a jigsaw puzzle can improve both concentration and motor skills. After all, picking up and placing the pieces is a grasp-and-release activity.
12 . Crossword Puzzles
Just like the jigsaw puzzle, crossword puzzles can help with word-finding skills. Since they are available in a variety of skill levels and font sizes, there should be one within your capabilities.
13 . Knitting
Knitting is a relaxing activity that can take your mind off of post-stroke challenges. If you are limited to one functional hand, a knitting aid will make one-handed knitting possible.
14 . Pottery
Making pottery is an engaging activity for stroke survivors. It requires limited arm and hand function and can be made with one hand. Clay is soft and easy to work with. Benefit? Sculpting can help you improve fine motor skills.
15 . Learning Sign Language
Activities that allow a stroke survivor to learn new skills are beneficial to initiate neuroplasticity. One of such activities is learning sign language that stimulates the brain and exercises the hands.
Note: All activities should be modified greatly depending on the impact of the stroke and the patient’s recovery needs.