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balance problems after stroke

hi again.  my mom (59) had a massive right side stroke on 01-14-07, causing Left arm and face, and leg problems.  She is working with O.T. to move her arm and is getting a small amout of movement nothing big, but improvement; she is doing face exercises and improving, can talk and communicate well always could on communication. (some short term mem prob is all) basically her mind is still there.  Walking with hemiwalker, with someone there at all times due to balance problems. She can walk pretty good once she gets going, but still has prob with balance (been a little over 2 months since stroke in jan)  I ask the Phys. therapist if there was anything extra we could be doing at home for balance and she said just time.  Does anyone have any ideas on what to do at home to help.  She walks, leg and arm exercise 2-3 times a day with me at home and P.T. and O.T. twice a week.  But I need something for balance if anyone could help.  

Can anyone give me some info on outcomes I can exspect with this amount of improvement in 2-3 months time???  Is this a slow improvement or fast one or just about average?
3 Responses
144586 tn?1284669764
Sure. You need to put rails around the house for her to rest her hands on. Similar to stair banisters. They sell in pine inexexpensively by the foor and then you need the supports and a little staining. You need LOTS of light. Don't skimp on the light. There are new low-wattage bulbs that give 60 watt equivelants for 14 watts to prevent overloading the circuits. Paint the walls in two contrasting colors or a wide stripe down the side of the hall. Soft footwear with good purchase. Carpeting to cushion a possible fall. In her room you can use "speedrail", which comes in various lengths and parts so you can construct a railing for her to follow from her bed to her chair, for example. A good evaluation by an opthamologist to make sure her eyewear is proper and that the issue is not due to her not seeing in one eye. If only one eye is used you lose depth perception. She needs a depth perception test at the opthamologist, if she is aware enough to take it. More later.
144586 tn?1284669764
This sometimes helps. While you are there and present to prevent falling, and have made sure visual cues (wall stripe etc.) are present practice movement with a patch first over the left eye, then the right. This will cause loss of depth perception, but at the same time force the brain to take acount of other factors to maintain "a sense of level". I used to do this with pilots to teach them to use cues other than those normally picked up while practicing night landings. Stroke patients often lose peripheral vision, so this can be helped by teaching to use the walker a step or two, hesitate, and move the head from side to side. Make sure the corners of furniture are well padded. Do not "rubberneck" while moving and after rubbernecking take a few moments before resuming walking. Sometimes the rate of focus is compromised in a stroke patient. That is the eyes retain the ability to focus, but do not do so as quickly. The answer is walk a step or two (with walker), hesitate to permit regaining of focus, then resume walking. Get carpets with patterns, rather than a solid color. A checkerboard floor pattern in the kitchen is confusing. Preferred are solid stripes in an "L" or an "H" position. If putting banisters everywhere is a problem, try "sliding the hand flat" against the wall. This provides great feedback. Use a wide gloss painted stripe that can be washed.
Avatar universal
Here is something that may help with balance and starting to walk forward. With the pearson standing use thumb and index finger, grasp the front of thier shirt and pull lightly forward. This helps my wife,she can do it to herself also.

good luck
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