Identifying and responding to stroke symptoms

FAST actions and home care solutions

Strokes are one of the top three leading causes of death for Canadian adults. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of strokes is an important skill for all of us because strokes are so prevalent. Care providers are professionally trained in spotting and responding to stroke symptoms, and there are many home care solutions that can help care for those at risk of stroke or who have had a stroke.

If you’re a family caregiver, or share caregiving responsibilities with a professional caregiver, it’s important for you to have current and accurate knowledge about the signs of a stroke. Reacting quickly can make a big difference in health and recovery.

One easy way to remember this is that if you suspect someone is suffering a stroke, you need to act FAST. FAST helps us remember the warning signs and how to react.

  • F: is the person’s face drooping?
  • A: can the person raise their arms?
  • S: is the person’s speech slurred or jumbled?
  • T: time to call 911.

You can ascertain the person’s symptoms by asking them to smile (is the smile uneven?) or asking them to lift their arms above their head. If there is weakness or numbing in one or both arms, that can be a sign of a stroke. Speech difficulty is one of the more common and well-known signs of stroke. Saying words in the wrong order, or not being able to pronounce words, can be signs of a stroke.

Note that these symptoms may get better or worse or change severity. You should still call 911 if you suspect a stroke. Bear in mind that mini strokes may also occur but can have long term health consequences if not immediately treated.

Additional stroke symptoms can include:

  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden or severe headache
  • Problems with balance, coordination, standing, walking, or dizziness
  • Numbing or weakness in the limbs or face

Seniors can lower the risk of stroke by taking steps that improve their general health. Staying active, eating a balanced and healthy diet, and managing blood pressure are all important to reducing the risk of stroke. Home care solutions can include dietary assistance, mobility assistance, and medication reminders.

If seniors still smoke or consume tobacco products, they may be at a higher risk for stroke. Home care solutions can include following physician recommendations for quitting smoking or reducing tobacco use.

“Our senior home care professionals provide assistance with Activities of Daily Living. Our compassionate caregivers make it possible for many seniors to continue living at home and for them to remain healthy,” explains Larry Meigs, President and CEO of Senior Homecare by Angels.

If your senior loved one has already experienced a stroke, there are home care solutions that can help improve their daily quality of life. In-home caregivers can provide assistance with all daily tasks, like meal preparation, light housekeeping including laundry and linens, and companionship care that can help your loved one feel happy and healthy.

Knowing the warning signs of a stroke is important for family members, family caregivers, professional caregivers, and all those who interact with seniors. Remember, if you think you’re seeing stroke symptoms, act FAST!

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