Significant proportions of stroke survivors suffer long-term physical disability and are predisposed to sedentary lifestyles. This limits their performance of activities necessary for independent living in the community and contributes to increased risk for recurrent stroke and heart disease. Dr. John Best recognizes that intervention strategies are needed to motivate stroke survivors to engage in routine physical activity and to optimize their physical and motor functions.
Best’s research will examine executive functions (EFs) as mediators of a mental and social enrichment intervention for older adults with chronic stroke. Broadly speaking, EFs refer to the cognitive processes that allow for adaptive behavior and self-control.
One promising strategy targets EFs by engaging stroke survivors in complex mental and social activities. Best’s research will evaluate the importance of improving EFs within the context of a mental and social enrichment intervention in order to have a meaningful impact on physical and motor functions, the ability to perform daily activities, and routine engagement in physical activity.
The information garnered from Best’s research will be crucial for improving stroke rehabilitation for older Canadians who suffer chronic disability from stroke.