Neuroplasticity is defined as the process in which the brain reorganizes itself by creating new neural pathways to adjust to new situations or compensate for any injury-related damage to the brain such as a stroke.
Scientists once thought any damage to the brain was permanent, but research has shown that the brain is not a static organ, and repetitive physical and mental exercises can stimulate neuroplasticity to help maintain and strengthen cognitive health.
The Impact of a Stroke
When a stroke occurs blood flow to the brain is reduced, depriving the brain cells of oxygen. Without oxygen, brain cells start to die and brain function is significantly reduced which may cause lifelong damage, if not treated immediately. The damage of a stroke can impact each person differently whether that be mobility challenges or their ability to communicate and engage in activities.
Fortunately, stimulating neuroplasticity can aid in the recovery of a stroke by enhancing the re-wiring of the brain to strengthen cognitive health so patients can regain their skills and live more independently. Natural neuroplasticity begins to occur immediately in response to the stroke’s traumatic damage, so it’s important to begin rehabilitation soon after a stroke so the brain can repair effectively.
Enhancing Neuroplasticity After a Stroke
At our Prestige Care Skilled Nursing and Post-Acute centers, our team of physical, occupational, and speech therapists are dedicated to supporting every stroke patient’s recovery journey. Our clinical team works individually with each patient to enhance neuroplasticity with consistent mental and physical exercise and repetition.
Repetition is one of the most effective ways to stimulate neuroplastic responses and retrain the brain. At a Prestige Skilled Nursing center, this may include daily physical exercises to induce strength and regain mobility, speech exercises to improve communication, or practicing sensory exercises to recover impaired senses. Regardless of what your rehabilitation journey looks like, it is important to understand that the more you exercise your brain, the stronger those impaired functions will become.
Another great way to improve neuroplasticity is through regular, low-impact brain and body exercises.
At our Prestige Care Senior Living communities, we offer Ageless Grace®, an innovative exercise program based on stimulating neuroplasticity to support cognitive health. The program uses 21 different seated exercises to stimulate the five functions of the brain and improve cognition and neuroplasticity. Ageless Grace® is meant to support memory, creativity, strategic and analytical thinking, and kinesthetic learning. People of all ages and abilities, including those with physical disabilities and challenges, can benefit from this class. While this program is only offered at Prestige Senior Living locations, our expert clinical teams at our Prestige Skilled Nursing centers work with each patient to improve neuroplasticity through similar exercise techniques.
It is important to understand that cognitive damage from a stroke does not have to permanently impact your quality of life and independence; there are many steps you can take to improve cognitive health after a stroke to regain lost functions.
At Prestige, our dedicated skilled nursing staff strives to meet the unique rehabilitation needs of every patient to aid in their recovery journey and improve their independence. Contact a center near you to learn more about our post-acute rehabilitation programs.