Keep your body and brain active

This page has ideas for things you can do to keep your brain and body active, and hopefully have some fun too.

I can write slowly, write type a letter or whatever.  But unless I do it every day I lose the ability … Anything that I don’t hear for a long time, or not very often, I start to lose the ability.


Stroke survivor

Oh I propel myself in my wheelchair, I push myself in the wheelchair. I don’t use the electric wheelchair, it makes you lazy man.


Stroke survivor

Crosswords, Sudoku, etc.

If you used to enjoy crosswords, wordfinds, quizzes or Sudoku, try doing them again. It might be much more difficult than it was before the stroke.

She was a whizz at those crosswords and things, and yeah, we’re trying to reintroduce that to her. I don’t know if it’ll work.


Daughter of Iraani, stroke survivor

And then she does the Sudoku every morning, so the brain’s working good.


Husband of Edna, Stroke survivor

Playing Cards

If you used to play cards, try playing again. If it’s too difficult to play your usual games start with something easier. Here are some ideas.

Sort the cards

Sort the cards in different ways, e.g.

  • Colours
  • Numbers
  • Suits
Play "memory"
  • Choose some pairs of cards (e.g. two kings or two aces)
  • Turn all the cards face-down
  • Take turns to turn over two cards. If they match you get to keep the cards
  • When all the cards are gone see who has the most pairs

You can make this game easier by using fewer pairs of cards and harder by adding more pairs of cards. To practise speaking, say the name of each card as you turn it over.

Modify your usual games

When you are up to playing your usual card games like Euchre, think about ways to make it work for you.

If you can only use one hand you might lay your cards out on the table and use something as a barrier so that other people can’t see them.

Try using a card games app on your phone.

If it is hard to say the names of the suits, or if you sometimes say it wrong, make picture cards with a heart, diamond, club or spade and on them so you can show people which one you mean.

Computer games

Some people find computer games helpful. AphasiaNZ has computer programs and other resources you can borrow. Click here to go to their website.

I’ve got a game that goes on my computer, it’s called ableX, good game eh.


Stroke survivor

Watching TV

You might find that you enjoy different TV programmes. Sport might be easier to watch than programmes with complicated stories.

I’m now watching TV, more sport than I ever thought I would ever be such a big watcher of TV sport. But the reason is because I can, it’s visual and so I can, I can kind of follow the story.


Stroke survivor

Tamariki and Mokopuna

Find ways to play with mokopuna, even if you can’t speak well or move around.

  • Looking at whānau photos
  • Looking at a picture book
  • Watching a DVD
  • Joking
  • Making music
  • Singing songs

When our son was a little person he would spend one day a week with Mum and Dad at home. And they just absolutely loved having him but then that in itself presented little challenges for them too. So this boy would play with his kuia and she was really, really awesome with him though, he could poke at her, play games with her and just do things with her that some of the other mokopuna wouldn’t do with her. He would call her names, he would poke her with sticks and she would just laugh, whereas if some of the other mokopuna did that she wouldn’t. So they had this really, really special relationship.

Daughter of a woman with stroke