My Mom (90) had a stroke. What can keep her busy during the short time she is awake?

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Her stroke left her with little use of her left side, but is getting better. She does not like to read or watch TV. Before her stroke she was totally independent but slept a lot. What can she do to help regain control of left hand and to engage her mind? She now sleeps most of the day and night. I get her up for lunch, most days for dinner she eats a small meal, drinks a lot of Boost, and falls asleep at the table. She is wheelchair bound and can't walk. I care for her 24 hours a day.

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Should I be concerned that my mom wants to watch (or should I say, listen) to the same movie over and over and over again? Is this affecting her motivation to engage in other things such as therapy, conversation, etc., or is this soothing to her?
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should I be concerned that she wants to watch (or should I say, listen) to the same movie over and over and over again? Is this affecting her motivation to learn or is it soothing to her?
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Art therapy has gained more prominence in helping people. There's also been a literal explosion of coloring books - I've seen more in non book stores recently than I have over a period of several years. However, they're not of the best quality - thick lines and too much activity in the drawings.

But you can use art therapy in other ways - photos of beautiful photography, for example. Country and Country Extra magazines are some of the most beautiful I've seen. The photos are relaxing, you can read the short stories or anecdotes to her if she's interested. But for me, just seeing the photos is immediately soothing.

There usually are photos of animals as well; little puppies and kittens just seem to be the photographic equivalent of a Mozart masterpiece.

Most of all, remember as CM explains that this is a healing period, so don't be concerned if progress seems slow.

You might also check local hospitals for stroke therapy groups. A local one in my area meets monthly. I believe the meetings are run by medical professionals. You might get some ideas there, but you also might meet other caregivers with whom you could exchange ideas.
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CM and Mirada, my sister told me that they played Mozart, and I believe Chopin, for their patients at the psych center where she worked. Their compositions were considered to be soothing to patients.

CM, BTW, you're the first person beyond musicologists who's mentioned the mathematical constructs of music.
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How long ago was this stroke? Be patient - it takes ***forever*** to begin to get back to "normal" - or as near normal as she is going to get, anyway; and by forever I mean 3-6 months, going on my mother's history (I'm sure it varies from one person to another).

Meanwhile, if her batteries run down fast between charges, try to go with the flow and let her do whatever she fancies. Don't impose more of a schedule on her than you have to. They would in rehab., but one of the key advantages of her being at home is that she can d*mn well please herself, isn't it? You and I don't have staff rosters and timetables to worry about.

I had stroke recovery described to me like this: the brain goes into repair mode, which means that all tasks unrelated to its healing itself and developing new neural pathways come a distant second. Hence the desire to sleep, hence the need for water and glucose, and everything else will just have to wait until it's got over the "massive insult" it suffered.

My brother worries terribly about how bored my mother must be, and very sweetly brought her Agatha Christie stories on CD to listen to. I didn't have the heart to tell him that she can barely follow a complete sentence, let alone a murder mystery. Unless your mother herself appears to be frustrated or bored by her lack of activity just let her be and see how she goes.

Having said that I've at last found a use for the complete Mozart collection my son gave me many Christmases ago - the music plays softly in the background and mother claims to like it, though I don't know how much she actually hears. The mathematical rhythms and intervals are supposed to be soothing to the brain (oh ah?) and who am I to say any different.
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Short DVD's like sit comes that she has enjoyed in the past, books on tape are great too. Ask the therapist this question as well, they may be able to make suggestions. What about play doh? Squeezing it and making 'silly' things would be good for therapy purposes. You can ask her to make a dog one day or a giraffe the next. What about stringing beads? If she would like this go for it. What about art, find a coloring book of pictures that she would enjoy, not childish ones unless she would prefer it, she can add glue to the picture, a small portion at a time, add colored glitter, she can change the colors for different areas of the picture. This would be something she can do without 2 good hands and she can use both which would be good for therapy purposes. What about an adult medical day care? she could go once or more per week. It would give her a chance to socialize, do something different and eat a meal. It would be good for her and they have trained staff who can monitor her medical condition. If she likes to paint, go to a craft store and purchase sun catcher kits, they are easy to do, look nice when done and she can use her 'stroke' arm to hold the item and her good one to paint with.
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It's not her meds she is only on one. Thank you for you reply.
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First I would look at what medications she is on to see if possibly she is over-medicated. Make a list of all of them and ask the MD and Pharmacist. IF she has lost some weight, the meds may need lowering to get her more alert.
Speak privately with the MD about a prognosis and when it would be time to refer her to Hospice. So sorry to see you go through this, you have a lot of courage to take this on.
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Her rehab is here at home with visits from her speech therapist and PT 3 x week. I like your idea about books on tape and I know she loves musicals. Thank you for your input, great ideas!
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Did she go to rehab after the stroke. You may have some print outs with OT and PT exercises they recommended. Would she enjoy books on tape or perhaps easy to follow Disney movies or musicals? Laurel and Hardy or Lucille Ball? Has she been evaluated for depression? Finally, is there Adult Day Care in your area?
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