Submissions from Readers

Only Plays Internet Games and Nothing Else Three Years Post Stroke

by Jazzbea
(Chicago, IL)

Question: I know playing games for up to 8 hours on the internet is not healthy for anyone. Does anyone know how sitting all day long playing games on an iPad impacts a stroke survivor?
My nephew will not participate in anything that will help him. Is this depression? He had his stroke over 3 years ago and was doing better when he first got out of a 57-day stay at inpatient rehab. Although he says he wants to get to the point of being more independent, he won't do the work. He gets angry and has outbursts when he is nudged to do his exercises. He then refuses to eat or drink anything and just lays in bed doing nothing. It's a bit of a challenge.

Answer Research has linked sitting for long periods with several health concerns. They include obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. All of these put increase a person's risk of having a stroke.

Unfortunately, video and internet games are a distraction for many people in society, not just stroke victims. Many people get involved with social media, video games, or other technology and become obsessed to the point that they don't tend to more important matters such as their health, exercise, school studies, work, family, etc. It can be very challenging to get people off of technology and back into connection with the real world. In addition, when you add a neurological injury such as a stroke, this can affect a person's emotions and behavior which can complicate things even further.

One solution to consider would be enlisting the help of a neuropsychiatrist or neuropsychologist who specializes in working with emotional and mental disorders of those who have had stroke/TBI/etc. Another possible solution is to find games that could help contribute to his rehab. There are video game systems that require larger movement and even video games designed specifically for rehabilitation, so maybe he would be interested in playing some games that would help him physically (and cognitively if needed).

Another possible solution might be getting him enrolled in a neuro day program, where he can go several hours a day and participate in therapy on an outpatient basis. Lastly, maybe he could be motivated by participating in things he likes to do (particularly activities that would get him physically moving, around others and out of the house). You don't mention how old he is, but they may have services he could utilize in his area (adaptive fitness centers, day programs, adaptive sports, etc.)

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