While daily activities can be more challenging due to the side effects of stroke, you can keep improving with continuous rehab. The following activities for stroke patients are fun ways to add extra rehab into your day. During your spare time at home, give them a try.
Fun Activities for Stroke Patients
During stroke recovery, almost all activities are therapeutic because they require some degree of movement or thinking. However, some are more therapeutic than others.
Here are some fun activities for stroke patients that double as rehab:
- Wii Gaming. Many occupational therapists have taken a liking to Wii because it’s fun to play and all the games double as rehab. Try Wii games like bowling or tennis for some fun rehab activities.
- MusicGlove. This gamified hand therapy device is clinically proven to improve hand function in stroke patients. It’s like Guitar Hero for your hand, which makes a fun rehab activity.
- Gardening. Stroke patients can benefit from hobbies like gardening because it gets you outside and physically active. Be sure not to overwork yourself because that would set back your recovery.
- Scrapbooking. Gather all your scrapbooking supplies together and get to work! Scrapbooking is a creative, fun activity for stroke patients that helps jog your memory too.
- Shell collecting. If you live in a beach city, take a stroll by the ocean and gather interesting shells that you find. This is a great therapeutic activity for stroke patients.
- Leaf collecting and pressing. Don’t live by the beach? Visit a nearby nature sanctuary and collect interesting leafs. Then, sandwich them between book pages for preservation, and add them to your scrapbook.
- Needlecraft. Some stroke patients may enjoy new hobbies like knitting or crochet. Needlecraft requires lots of fine motor skill practice, so it’s a great rehab activity for stroke patients. And when you’re done, you’ll have something new to wear, too!
- Origami. This Japanese paper-folding art is very challenging. Go slowly and be patient. It could turn into a wonderful hobby for stroke patients.
- Calligraphy. This is an advanced activity for stroke patients because it requires a steady hand. But the more you practice, the better you’ll get!
- Jewelry making. Threading beads onto string can be quite a challenging yet therapeutic activity for stroke patients.
- Poker. Get your friends and family together for a fun game of poker. This will challenge your strategy and critical thinking while providing fun camaraderie.
- Model railroads. If you love mechanics and design, then you could find joy in building model railroads. The bigger sets aren’t just for kids!
- Keeping a pet. Pet therapy is great for stroke patients.
- Visit an animal shelter. Not ready for a pet? Spend time with the animals at your local shelter. Even if you don’t adopt, you’ll help get them accustomed to socializing so that someone else is more likely to adopt them.
- Decluttering. Have you heard of Marie Kondo and her famous book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? It might inspire you to declutter your house, which can help prevent falls.
Cognitive Activities for Stroke Patients
Activities for stroke patients that require more cognitive skills also deserve a place in your home therapy regimen.
If you want to improve cognitive function, like memory and critical thinking, give these cognitive activities for stroke patients a try:
- Meditation. This is one of the best activities for stroke patients because it’s proven to improve attention and mental flexibility and also grow your brain.
- Speech therapy apps. There are many apps available that provide speech and cognitive exercises for stroke patients. The CT Speech and Cognitive Therapy app, for example, contains over 100,000 exercises, so you have an endless supply of activities to try.
- Language learning. If you struggle with language after stroke, don’t attempt to learn a new one just yet. When you’re ready for a challenge, try using language-learning apps like Duolingo. Learning a new language helps grow your brain, which is great during stroke recovery.
- Podcasting. Interesting in creating media but don’t feel up for video? Try starting a new podcast. You can even record a series to document your recovery from stroke.
- Napping. Sleep is very important during stroke recovery because it gives the brain a chance to recover. Naps are encouraged! In fact, sleep is the top recommendation for stroke patients from Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist and author of My Stroke of Insight.
- Documentaries. Popular streaming services like Netflix are full of interesting documentaries that will keep your brain engaged.
- Scattergories. This popular game can make a fun, challenging activity for stroke patients. It’s fast-paced, so play it when you’re up for a real challenge.
- Jenga. This game involves stacking small wooden bricks together until they crumble and fall. This makes it a great fine motor skill activity for stroke patients, especially because you need to work slowly and carefully.
- Connect Four. Try this game for a less challenging but fun activity for stroke patients.
- Card games. Simple games like War or Go Fish can be great fun during stroke recovery.
- Puzzles. Putting together a puzzle can be a great activity for stroke patients. If you get too frustrated, you can always take a break and come back later.
- Sudoku. This crossword-style brain game involves numbers and math. It comes in different levels of difficulty. Start with the easy ones and see if you like it.
- Checkers. This fun activity for stroke patients requires strategy and fine motor skills.
- Chess. This game requires more critical thinking than checkers.
- Trivia. Give your memory and critical thinking a workout with some trivia.
- Reading. A good book is perhaps the most classic cognitive activity for stroke patients. Try reading some books for stroke recovery.
Gross & Fine Motor Activities for Stroke Patients
Certain activities can help improve your motor skills more than others. Here are some great activities for stroke patients that double as rehab:
- FitMi. This rehab device is designed to be a virtual gym for stroke patients. It contains many exercises and activities for stroke patients that help improve mobility.
- Photography. Take a walk around a nearby nature sanctuary and take some photos. You’ll give your hand and legs a nice workout, and have fun while you’re at it.
- Tai Chi. This slow-motion exercise is great for stroke patients because it helps improve balance and motor skills. Try these tai chi exercises for stroke patients.
- Gentle yoga. Yoga is a great activity for stroke patients because it helps gently stretch the muscles, which is good for spasticity, and bring movement to the body. Be sure to mention to your yoga instructor of any impairments or limitations before class starts. That way they can provide adjustments if necessary.
- Adapted yoga. You can check your local listings to see if there are special adapted yoga classes in your area tailored for physical limitations.
- Dancing. Put on some of your favorite tunes and move your body.
- Gentle exercise. Try some at-home exercises for stroke patients to improve mobility.
- Walking. If you have the mobility to walk, then enjoy a daily walk around your neighborhood.
- Hiking. If you’re ready to really challenge your body, go for a light hike. Start with trails that are flat and well-populated.
- Hula hooping. This exercise works your core, which helps improve balance after stroke.
- Cooking. Choose some simple, healthy recipes to get yourself back in the kitchen. Using both hands can be challenging, so go slow. There is also adaptive kitchen equipment if you want extra help.
- Baking. Some people bake to destress, and this activity can be fun and therapeutic for stroke patients. Try health recipes to make sure you’re not contributing to any stroke risk factors like high cholesterol.
- Playing an instrument. Once your fine motor skills have partially come back, try picking up an old instrument again. If you didn’t play one before, try learning.
- Lite Brite. This classic game is just like the peg board that you probably used in therapy, only smaller. While some may feel like it’s a kids game, it’s still a great fine motor activity for stroke patients.
- Writing. Whether you choose touch-typing on the computer or writing by hand, this is a creative activity that helps improve fine motor skills.
What are some of your favorite activities for stroke patients? Share them with us in the comments below!