Recovering from a stroke can take time and work. While everyone’s stroke recovery timeline is different, there is technology available at your fingertips that could help improve your condition during and after your hospital stay.
They say there is an app for everything, and that includes stroke recovery. Even apps that weren’t designed with stroke treatment in mind could be helpful when you are recovering from a stroke. Monica Myers, a physical therapist and therapy team lead at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Cincinnati, said after therapy sessions in the gym, she often recommends apps such as Candy Crush to her stroke patients as a way to continue their therapy safely in their rooms.
“A lot of my patients want things to do in their room that they can do independently,” she said. “They want to do more, but it might not be safe to do some things alone. A game like Candy Crush on your phone is safe, and it helps with hand-eye coordination that is often impacted after a stroke.”
So what are the best apps for stroke survivors? That depends on what you want to accomplish.
Communication and Cognition
After a stroke, you may have difficulty communicating due to a condition called aphasia. Depending on the type of aphasia you have, you could have trouble forming or understanding words. In that case, Myers recommends simple word games.
There are a variety of apps that focus on word games. Myers suggests finding ones that are not too complex. “I wouldn’t do one like sudoku,” she said. “It would get too frustrating. Start with something simple; that way you’re still working your brain, but you’re also having fun.”
Apps such as 7 Little Words offer simple word puzzles to help you recognize words and improve communications.
More complex rehabilitation apps such as Constant Therapy are designed specifically for stroke and other neurological conditions. This app allows access to speech and cognition therapy exercises on the convenience of your phone or tablet.
Learn more about recovery after stroke and how Encompass Health rehabilitation can help get you back to what matters most.Learn More
Fine Motor Skills and Vision
Fine motor skills such as grasping and reaching can be impacted by your stroke, as can your hand-eye coordination and vision. Myers said that’s where games such as Candy Crush, a puzzle game, and Bubble Shooter can be beneficial.
She suggests using your arm that was impacted by your stroke to play the games. The scanning of the screen will also help with vision. Myers said many stroke survivors experience a loss of their visual field on the side of the body that was impacted by the stroke. “These apps allow them to see and touch, which will help with hand-eye coordination,” she added.
There are a variety of apps that can assist you in managing your medications. Whether you need help remembering when to take your medications or help identifying a medication and what it does, there are apps available to help you.
After a stroke, you may have a variety of prescriptions with different instructions, so use these medication management apps to help simplify the process and ensure you are taking the right pills at the right time.
Anxiety and Depression
A stroke is a life-changing event. There are many unknowns and recovery can take time, which could leave you feeling anxious and/or depressed.
The popular app, Calm, uses sound therapy and meditation to help you relax and fall asleep if your anxiety is keeping you up at night. The app Sanvello was designed by a psychologist and can help you identify your problems and move toward acceptance and peace.
If you need someone to talk to, try 7 Cups: Online Therapy and Chat. The app offers confidential access to therapists, as well as other mood-boosting advice and activities.