Whether you are the family caregiver, or you rely on help from an elder care aide, it is important to know what to do if your aging loved one has a stroke. Symptoms of a stroke include facial drooping, usually on one side of the face, arm weakness, and slurred speech. If you notice any of these things, you know that you must call 911 right away… but do you know exactly what a stroke is?
To put it in simple terms, a stroke is like a heart attack in the brain. It happens when the blood flow to one area of the brain is cut off, which can lead the brain to stop functioning correctly. Immediate action is required in the instance of a stroke, because the longer the blood flow is cut off to the brain, the more damage can be done.
This damage, in many cases in permanent, with seventy five percent of stroke suffers having permanent damage. However, some stroke suffers are able to recover completely, most often due to quick action on the part of their caregivers. This, though, is also dependent on which part of the brain was affected by the stroke, as certain parts of the brain, such as the part responsible for speech or movement are more complex than others.
There are two main types of strokes, ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. The former occurs when one of the blood vessels leading to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, which cuts off the flow of blood and keeps important signals from reaching the brain. The latter is less common, but is usually more fatal. A hemorrhagic stroke, as the name suggests, occurs when there is bleeding in the brain, or when an aneurism bursts.
Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, with a stroke happening every forty seconds. Many strokes, can be prevented, however, by maintaining a proper diet and making sure to get regular exercise. Regular checkups are also important in the prevention of strokes, so you and your elder care aide should never neglect taking your aging loved one for their routine checkups.
Now that you know more about what a stroke is, it will be easier to identify it if it happens to your loved one. However, the most important thing of all to remember is to act fast. If you notice facial drooping or inexplicable arm weakness and slurred speech in your loved one, do not hesitate to call 911 for help. You might be tempted to overthink it, and wonder if it is really a stroke, or if you should call a doctor to get confirmation first, but resist this urge. If it is not a stroke, that’s great, but it is better to be overly cautious than to wait too long to report what ends up being a stroke. Time saved is brain saved, as many doctors will tell you, so it is imperative to get your loved one help as soon as possible so that damage to the brain will be as minimal as possible.
If you or someone you know needs help with elder care in Grand Rapids, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.