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10 Fun and engaging games for stroke patients

10 Fun and engaging games for stroke patients
There are many therapies that can help a stroke patient recover. Anitha Thomas, Lead Occupational Therapist at Bupa Care Services, shares 10 fun games for stroke patients
After a stroke, some people can have trouble with their thinking, reasoning, awareness, and memory. This can change how a person communicates, moves, thinks, emotions and wellbeing. 
While there is currently no cure for stroke, there are many treatments and therapies that can help patients recover and regain their independence. For people who have experienced strokes, playing games can be an important part of rehabilitation.  
"Games can provide a much-needed sense of normality and fun during a challenging time"
Games help to improve a variety of skills that may have been affected by the stroke, including: 
  • Motor function: ability to move their body voluntarily 
  • Cognitive function: memory, learning, attention, decision making and language abilities 
  • Social interaction: conversations verbal or nonverbal
Games can help to reduce stress and anxiety and provide a much-needed sense of normality and fun during a challenging time. 


Puzzles are a wonderful way to improve cognitive function and problem-solving skills. There are many different types of puzzles such as trying to complete a jigsaw and card matching. The latter is a great visual memory game that helps with visual scanning and mental recall. 

Board games

Classic board games are a great way to improve social interaction and problem-solving skills. There are many different types of board games available, each with its own unique set of challenges and benefits. For example, four in a row is a great game for challenging dexterity, gross and fine motor skills, while also requiring players to use tactics like anticipatory skills, logic, and strategic thinking.
Board games - games for stroke patients
Choose a game that they enjoy the most and that challenges them in a way that is both fun and rewarding. 

Card games

Everyone usually has a deck of playing cards, and these are a terrific way to improve cognitive function and hand-eye coordination. There are many different types of card games available, so you can find one that is appropriate for the individual's skill level.

Word games

Word games are a wonderful way to improve memory and language skills. Create small letter tiles to make up words helps motor skills along with retaining the different letters and putting them together to make a word, improving cognitive skills.
"Word games are a wonderful way to improve memory and language skills"
A simpler task is asking stroke patients to spell out their name or the alphabet with the tiles. 

Music therapy

Incorporate music-based games into rehabilitation sessions. This can involve rhythm tapping, singing along to familiar songs, or playing simple musical instruments. Music stimulates the brain and can enhance motor skills and emotional well-being. 

Storytelling games

Encourage stroke survivors to create stories based on given prompts or images, fostering creativity, language skills, and imagination.

Art games

Expressing emotions such as fear, frustration, and others, which are frequently encountered after a stroke, can be exceptionally challenging, particularly when speech difficulties are present. The use of art can offer an effective and expressive channel through which individuals can convey these emotions.
Making a collage - games for stroke patients
For example, storytelling through collage—players use cut-out images, magazine clippings, and other materials to create collages that tell a story or express specific emotions. 


Dance games such as musical statues which can be played standing or sitting is a fantastic way to improve motor function through movement, balance and coordination. This game has various positive effects and benefits for example listening skills, concentration and focus. Try using different types of music but songs that are recognisable to the individual. 

Adaptive sports

Participate in modified versions of sports activities like seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, or adaptive golf, encouraging physical movement, social engagement and improve motor skills and coordination. 

Sensory stimulation games

Incorporate activities that involve matching colours, sorting objects by texture, or identifying scents. These games provide a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation, which provide a sense of adventure, stimulate curiosity, and promote visual and cognitive engagement. 
"It's important to adapt the activities based on the individual's abilities"
By following these tips, you can safely and effectively get the exercise you need to reach your rehabilitation goals. 
Additional tips for patients following a stroke: 
  • Start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend playing the game over time. 
  • Listen to your body and stop if you feel pain
  • Find a quiet place where you can relax and focus on the game. 
  • Work your way through a Stroke Recovery Activity Book with a loved one or by yourself    
  • Take breaks throughout your sessions to rest your mind and body. 
  • Do activities with a friend or family member for support and motivation. 
Remember, it’s important to adapt the activities based on the individual's abilities and consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalised guidance and support throughout the process. 
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