A stroke can be a serious health emergency. While anyone can have a stroke, aging is the main risk factor. As your loved one ages, their arteries narrow and harden, sometimes becoming clogged. Older adults are also more prone to other medical conditions that can increase their risk of stroke.
Knowing the signs a senior is having a stroke can save your loved one’s life.
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke could be called a brain attack because it acts similar to and is every bit as serious as a heart attack. When someone experiences a stroke, a blood vessel to part of the brain either bursts or becomes clotted, robbing that part of the brain of its vital blood supply and oxygen. Without oxygen, brain cells can die within minutes. The longer your loved one waits before receiving treatment, the more brain damage may occur.
Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the country and can also lead to long-term disabilities. However, if your loved one reaches the hospital quickly, they can receive treatment that may improve their condition.
Signs of a Stroke
If an older adult is experiencing a stroke, it’s vital to recognize the signs. The faster you act, the sooner they can receive lifesaving treatment. One of the simplest ways to identify a stroke is the FAST test from the National Stroke Association:
- F: F stands for face drooping. If your senior loved one’s face droops or their smile is lopsided or uneven, this could be cause for concern.
- A: A stands for arm weakness. In those having a stroke, one arm may feel weak or numb. If you ask them to raise both arms, one arm may drift downward.
- S: S stands for speech. Is your loved one hard to understand, or is their speech slurred? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence.
- T: T stands for time to call 911. The previous three symptoms are the major signs of stroke, so call for an ambulance right away if you’ve noticed them.
Other indicators that could point to your loved one having a stroke include:
- Numbness, especially on one side of the body.
- Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes.
- Loss of balance or coordination.
- Trouble walking.
- Sudden headache.
What to Do Next If Your Loved One Is Having a Stroke
If your senior loved one has a stroke, time is of the essence. Even if the symptoms fade after a few minutes, call 911. They may have experienced a brief, stroke-like condition called a transient ischemic attack. Resist letting them talk you out of calling for help. Avoid giving them food or medication, as a stroke can limit your loved one’s ability to swallow.
Do not drive them yourself or allow your loved one to drive. Emergency responders can start lifesaving treatment on the way to the hospital.
Contact Home Care Assistance for In-Home Stroke Care
A stroke impacts each person differently, depending on how much damage it caused and to what part of the brain. Your loved one may also experience other health problems following their stroke, including paralysis, difficulty speaking, swallowing problems or pain.
If your loved one has suffered a stroke, Home Care Assistance of South Tampa is here to help. A professional caregiver can play a critical role in your senior loved one’s stroke recovery, starting from day one. If you have any questions about stroke recovery or you’re interested in learning more about in-home care for stroke survivors, reach out to us today.