The concept of use your brain or lose it got some more validation. A study was done with aging mice. One group was put in an environment with lots of playmates and toys. The aged mice developed three times as many new brain cells as mice that were kept in boring environments.
This means the elderly need to keep active with friends and activities.
In addition, friendships can actually help speed recovery from a stroke. A study reported in "Stroke", January 1993, had 46 first-time stroke patients that felt they got the most tender loving care from families and friends.
The biggest difference came after six months. The people who did not feel supported by friends saw their abilities after the stroke improve slightly after the stroke and then dropped dramatically six months later.
The people who felt the most supported scored 65% higher on the tasks of daily living.
Some guidelines to help the person:
Be a good listener to the person.
Don't be overprotective of the person.
After six months, most of the improvement has probably taken place.
Assert the stroke person in repetitive practice as they need to relearn basic tasks.