Q. My husband’s best friend recently suffered a massive stroke. We
thank God he survived and was able to go home. He lives in a remote
area and his wife still has to work, so attending rehab will be a
challenge. My husband thinks a tablet could be used for therapy. Are
there any applications that could be downloaded? Could you tell us how
to find apps that help with rehab? Thanks very much.
-Linda from Fairport, NY, listens to my weekly radio show on WHAM 1180
A. Oh, dear! I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I hope he can
speed down the road to recovery. Technology will be a great tool to
A tablet does make a good therapy tool in some areas. There are some
apps that could help the recovery process. For example, brain-training
apps such as Brain Genius Deluxe can help with concentration and mental
For stroke patients, however, doctors are using another gadget.
Rehabilitation facilities across the country are using the Nintendo Wii
as a fun form of physical therapy. It even has a great name - “Wii-hab.”
You may think video games are good only for keeping people glued to the
couch, but Wii games aren’t just about mashing buttons. You move just
like you would in the real world to dodge punches in a boxing game or
swing a racket in tennis.
For physical therapy, this gives it an advantage over static computers
and tablets. Doctors see it as a great way to regain balance, motor
control and strength.
When a player is focused on the game, they don’t realize they’re doing
similar movements that they would in physical therapy. This makes the
difficultly level less obvious.
Games also help provide motivation to keep going and give a unique
reward system. As players progress, they strive to beat the game - no
matter how difficult. And beating a tough opponent or level works like
a benchmark to track patient improvement.
Of course, there are brain-training games for the Wii, such as Big
Brain Academy, for times when the patient is tired.
Another major plus to this approach: The system is going to be cheaper
than a new tablet. The average price for a new Wii online is only about
$170, compared to a $500 iPad.
Some stores bundle Wii Sports Resort - a popular choice for Wii-hab -
with the system, so you’re ready to move right out of the box. New
games retail for about $60, but some great fitness titles cost less
I’m not a medical expert, so he should definitely consult a doctor
before starting any exercise or physical therapy program. Your doctors
might be able to suggest specific games that would be best for his
We all want to stay in shape, but healthy habits can be difficult. I
have some great ways to make fitness a little easier.
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