Stroke rehab to be highlighted at Saturday's American Senior Communities Health Fair

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The key to surviving stroke is first recognizing the symptoms — facial irregularities, limited arm movement, slurred speech.

It's also key to start rehabilitation as soon as the doctor has cleared you.

A stroke in March affected Jackie Walker's right hand and leg.  

She's had quite a journey since then.

Coordination, strength and balance are priorities in rehabilitation.

Walker is in therapy twice a day, five times a week at Rosegate, an American Senior Communities facility.

"The key is to start the rehab as soon as possible and if possible, the rehab has to be aggressive and intense," said Harshal Joshi, Walker's physical therapist. "It's so they don't lose the ability to regain the motor control."

Joshi estimates 60 percent of the patients at Rosegate have been affected by a stroke, and working to regain independence is hard work. 

"I know there are a lot of times you want to get out of therapy, you think I don't want to do this today, but push yourself, because it is helpful," Walker said.

Joshi said 90 percent of patients are like Walker, and most reach their goal independence on discharge day.

"I think I would have slacked on some of if, but here, they get you up and get you going and that is what you need to get better," Walker said.
 
Back at her home in Greenwood, Walker's husband, Roy, built a ramp for her. The bathrooms have been renovated. And her beloved Sparky is waiting.

You can learn more about stroke and rehab options from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the WTHR American Senior Communities Health Fair at Community Health South.