In the days right after a stroke, a senior’s capabilities tend to be drastically decreased. This is understandably concerning, so it’s very common for seniors and their families to have questions about the brain’s ability to heal. While scientists still don’t know everything about brain function and recovery, research is showing the brain may be stronger than previously thought. Here’s what you need to know about the brain’s chances of healing following a stroke.
Some Healing Is Due to Decreased Swelling
Right after a stroke, there tends to be a lot of swelling in the brain. As the brain starts to heal, swelling goes down, allowing better circulation. As circulation increases, slightly damaged cells heal, and toxins and waste products are taken out of the brain. This part of stroke recovery tends to result in rapid enhancements in cognition and functioning, which isn’t technically due to the brain healing itself. Instead, it’s just the brain beginning to operate again in the absence of swelling.
When it comes to stroke recovery, family caregivers might need extra help with their caregiving duties. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care service, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
The Brain Uses Axonal Sprouting as a Recovery Mechanism
The main issue in a brain following a stroke is that it no longer has the same amount of brain cells. However, the brain is very flexible at working with what it has. Following a stroke, brain cells go through a process called axonal sprouting, which involves neurons sending out new connections throughout the brain. This process connects neurons isolated by the stroke with the rest of the brain so they can better make their connections. Sprouting doesn’t result in full recovery, but it does allow the brain to better utilize the nerve cells it has left.
Some Nerve Cell Growth May Be Possible
Some people think the brain cannot heal due to the misconception that a person only has the brain cells he or she was born with. Though past generations of neuroscientists thought neurons couldn’t be grown at all, new research is showing the body can create new nerve cells. This process of creating new neural cells, called neurogenesis, is slow and gradual, so seniors shouldn’t expect sudden enhancements.
Receiving customized professional care and support every day can help senior stroke survivors speed up their recovery. If your senior loved one needs professional in-home care in Flower Mound, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a trusted provider of respite and 24-hour care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for seniors.
Rehabilitation Is Essential to Recovery
It’s possible for the brain to take some steps to heal on its own following a stroke. However, the brain tends to do a better job of recovery when seniors go through stroke rehabilitation. Regularly practicing daily tasks and cognitive skills strengthens various connections throughout the brain and teaches different parts of the brain to manage tasks formerly handled by the areas destroyed by the stroke.
Older stroke survivors often need regular help to manage household tasks and enhance cognitive abilities. Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Flower Mound, TX, 24-hour care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. If you need professional care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (972) 468-6010.