Benefits Of Geriatric Occupational Therapy After A Stroke

If your senior loved one has suffered a stroke, the neurologist may have recommended that he or she enroll in a geriatric short term occupational therapy program. A stroke, or cerebral vascular accident, can cause complete or partial paralysis, speech problems, neurological deficits, vision problems, and mobility problems.

Fortunately, occupational therapy can help improve, or in some cases, completely restore, strength in the upper part of the body. Here are some ways geriatric short term occupational therapy services can help your loved one overcome the effects of a stroke:

Improved Ability To Eat

Because of upper body weakness, your loved one may be unable to eat independently. The occupational therapist will offer your loved one utensils with built up handles that will make grasping them easier.

Stroke patients with upper body weakness are often unable to hold onto a regular utensil but once the patient learns how to use a special fork or spoon with a built up, or thicker, handle, he or she may have an easier time with eating. In addition to providing the geriatric patient with special utensils, the therapist will teach the patient exercises and coordination strategies that will help improve the ability to eat and drink from a glass independently or with only minimal assistance. 

Prevent Muscle Wasting

Stroke and other neurological disorders can result in muscle wasting and atrophy. The occupational therapist can develop a plan of care to help your loved one strengthen his or her muscles to regain strength and prevent atrophic muscle tissue.

The plan of care may include the use of weights or exercises that are designed to build muscle, enhance circulation, and promote blood flow. While the results may not be immediate, the geriatric patient will soon notice an improvement in upper body strength and muscle control. Occupational therapeutic exercises will also help prevent some of the effects of a stroke such as weakness and the inability to raise the arms over the head.

If your senior loved one has suffered a stroke, talk to the neurologist about enrolling the person in an occupational therapy program. When an occupational or physical therapy regimen is implemented soon after a cerebral vascular accident, your loved one is more likely to recover with less residual effects from the stroke. In addition to this, involvement in restorative therapy programs are thought to reduce the incidence of anxiety and depression that may develop after heart attacks and strokes.