When it comes to health issues with the potential to suddenly and drastically alter your lifestyle and ability to live independently, few events can compare to the impact of a stroke. The aftermath of suffering a stroke frequently includes physical issues, such as paralysis or balance problems. Many people also experience difficulty with memory and attention, trouble with vision or sensation, and even anxiety or depression.
If you or someone you love has suffered a stroke, no doubt one of your top priorities is regaining former abilities to the fullest extent possible. You’ll also want to learn how to cope with any remaining disabilities. An occupational therapist is an important part of your medical team, and can help you to meet your recovery goals.
How Can Occupational Therapy Help?
One of the main goals of occupational therapy is to improve your ability to carry out everyday activities that are crucial to your health and well-being. An occupational therapist can assist you in several areas, including the following:
Increase Your Strength and Compensate for Remaining Disabilities.
Occupational therapy can help you to regain your strength by using ordinary activities to increase your stamina. Your therapist will help you to set goals and will work with you to help you reach them. Together you will gradually build up your activity level so you can return to doing the things that are important to you.
If your stroke has left you with paralysis or weakness on one side, an occupational therapist can help you to adjust. In addition to strengthening your unaffected side, he or she can teach you how to perform many everyday activities with one hand. Learning one-handed strategies for such things as getting dressed or preparing food can help you to maintain your independence.
Deal Successfully With Cognitive or Emotional Issues
An occupational therapist may be able to offer cognitive rehabilitation to help you regain as much of your memory as possible. He or she will also work with you to develop routines that minimize the impact of memory loss or confusion. Your therapist can work with you to develop compensating strategies so that you can go on participating in many of your former activities. For example, he or she may suggest breaking them down into smaller steps to make them more manageable.
In addition to your thinking skills, your therapist will also be interested in whether you are experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety. If you are, he or she will be able to offer advice or refer you to another specialist.
Address Home Safety Issues
Your occupational therapist may suggest ways that you can modify your home to minimize the risk of falling (such as removing throw rugs or installing night lights). He or she will also be able to evaluate your ability to perform daily activities and recommend equipment or home modifications based on your specific needs.
Offer Support to Caregivers
Chances are that, especially in the early stages, you will need at least some assistance from others. An occupational therapist can also work with your caregivers and help them to understand the best way to meet your needs.
He or she can teach them how you can safely perform daily activities such as getting out of bed, bathing, or getting dressed. They may also benefit from instruction on ways to help you gain more independence (like resisting the urge to do everything for you).
The road to recovery after a stroke is never an easy one. But with the help of occupational therapy, you’ll be able to enjoy as many of your former activities as possible.
The Davis Community Offers Rehabilitation at Its Finest
The Davis Community has a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center where our residents can exercise and/or recover from their surgeries or injuries using modern equipment designed especially for seniors. We take pride in offering the best rehabilitation and physical therapy in Wilmington NC.
If you or an aging parent need physical rehabilitation or therapy, visit our Facebook page to learn more about the fitness center at Davis Community. Or, for more information about our occupational therapy program, our retirement community, nursing homes, and skilled nursing services, just give us a call today at 910-566-1200.