One of the lasting effects of having a stroke is weakness in one side of the body. Fortunately for stroke victims and their families, it's possible to regain strength in this side. Doing so doesn't come automatically, however. If the stroke victim and those around him or her aren't dedicated to a treatment program, it's possible that the victim will never be able to use his or her arm on this side properly again. If you're a family member of a stroke patient, you want to help your loved one regain strength in this arm as quickly as possible. Here are some ways that you can help.

Manage Therapy Appointments

After a stroke, the victim will often need to attend multiple physical therapy appointments with the goal of rebuilding strength in the weaker side of the body. You can be a huge asset simply by overseeing these appointments. This means booking them, reminding the patient about them, and helping him or her to get to them. Many stroke victims can no longer drive, which means that your family member's ability to get to these sessions may be low. When you step in and help in the above ways, you're dramatically improving the probability that the patient will regain strength in the arm.

Help With Exercises At Home

Your loved one might attend physical therapy sessions at a stroke recovery treatment center multiple times each week, but it's advantageous if you can familiarize yourself with the arm exercises that he or she needs to perform and play the role of a personal trainer at home. The patient's physical therapist will often provide some handouts on how to perform the at-home exercises, but the patient may need someone to encourage and help him or her. These exercises can be physically and emotionally challenging, so having you in an assisting role will increase the likelihood that the patient performs them.

Offer Gentle Reminders

One habit that stroke patients will often adopt, and with good reason, is beginning to use their "good" arm for daily tasks. This may be the case even if the side that the stroke didn't affect isn't the person's dominant side. It can be relatively easy to begin to eat, groom, and perform other small tasks around the house with the good arm, but you need to gently remind your loved one to use his or her other arm, too. This will be challenging, and you may get some arguments, but it's important to stay on top of this concept to help the person rebuild lost strength.