Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. That’s about 795,000 strokes per year. When an older adult suffers a stroke, it’s imperative that they receive treatment as quickly as possible. The longer treatment is delayed, the more likely it is that there will be irreversible damage. Knowing the symptoms of a stroke is one of the best ways to help seniors get the medical care they need as quickly as possible.
Symptoms of Stroke
A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is either cut off or reduced. This keeps oxygen rich blood from reaching the brain tissues. Without oxygen and nutrients, the tissues begin to die off quickly. While some strokes can happen gradually, in most cases, there will be some sudden symptoms.
Symptoms of stroke can include:
Communication Problems: The senior may have trouble talking. Their words may be slurred. They may also become confused and be unable to understand what someone is saying to them.
Numbness or Weakness: During a stroke, the victim might experience numbness or weakness in one side of their body. One side of the face, an arm, or a leg might be affected. Paralysis may even occur.
Vision Problems: Vision might suddenly become blurry or blackened. This can occur in one eye or in both.
Headache: Stroke can cause a sudden headache that is quite painful. The senior may also vomit, feel dizzy, or have altered consciousness.
Walking Difficulties: Someone having a stroke may suddenly have difficulty walking. They might stumble, lose their balance, feel dizzy, or be uncoordinated.
Use F.A.S.T. to Recognize a Stroke
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using the acronym F.A.S.T. to remember the symptoms of a stroke and what to do. This method can help to identify a stroke within 3 hours of the first symptom, which will make treatment more effective.
Here’s what F.A.S.T. entails:
F is for Face: Ask the older adult to smile for you. If one side of the mouth is drooping, this is a sign of stroke.
A is for Arms: Have the senior raise both of their arms. If one arm drifts downward, the older adult could be having a stroke.
S is for Speech: Ask your aging relative to repeat a short phrase. If they have trouble doing it or if their speech is slurred, a stroke may be occurring.
T is for Time: If any of these signs occurs, call 911 immediately.
Home care services providers are trained in recognizing medical problems in older adults, including stroke. A home care services provider who notices the signs of stroke can call 911 so that your aging relative gets the help they need quickly. After a stroke, a home care services provider can assist with recovery by reminding the senior to take medications and helping with home therapy.