Helping Seniors Regain Hand Strength After Stroke

Stroke often affects hand and arm strength. The weakness can last for months, requiring therapy to regain as much strength as possible. Using the muscles will help the brain reconnect with them and strengthen the connection between them. While it’s important that older adults who have experienced a stroke work with a therapist to improve their condition as much as possible, there are ways you can help your aging relative to strengthen their hands at home.

General Information About Stroke Recovery

Your older adult’s recovery depends on several factors, such as:

  • How severe the stroke was.
  • The older adult’s motivation and whether they continue to do recommended therapy activities outside of their therapy appointments.
  • The support of friends and family.

Most people see the biggest gains in the first weeks and months of recovery. However, some people continue to see improvements even up to 18 months later.

Exercises to Try at Home

It can be hard for seniors to stay motivated to perform recovery activities. One way you can make them more fun is by turning them into games. Challenge the senior to a duel of skills or to improve their last results. It can also be helpful to do practical exercises that the older adult can see are important to everyday tasks. Some hand and arm exercises older adults can do at home include:

Wrap the affected hand around a door handle or the refrigerator door. Open and close the door several times.

  • Carry a plastic shopping bag across the room using the weak hand. When that becomes easy, put a light object in the bag. As hand strength gets better, continue using heavier items.
  • Take laundry out of the dryer using the weakened hand, then carry it in a small bag.
  • Put a tube of toothpaste in the affected hand and hold a toothbrush in the other. Squeeze toothpaste on the toothbrush.
  • Stack pennies on the table. Challenge the senior to stack more than they did last time, or play against them to see who can stack the most.
  • Lay playing cards out on the table and have the senior flip them over. Playing a game of memory can be a fun way to do this activity.
  • Play checkers. The senior can only move their pieces using the injured hand.
  • Paint using the affected hand.

The process of recovery can be long and frustrating. Your aging relative will need all the help and support they can get. One way to ensure they have what they need is to use elder care. Elder care providers can assist with things that the senior cannot do because of disabilities caused by the stroke. Elder care providers can assist with things like cooking, buttoning a shirt, or carrying things. Elder care providers can also encourage seniors to do their hand exercises, setting up the activities, cheering them on, or competing against those who are the competitive type.

Originally published 5/22/19 at
If you are considering elder care in Parma, OH, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at R-DAYs Home Care Services today! Visit our Website, or Call us! 440-579-3352