The statistics surrounding strokes are alarming. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke, for a total of 140,000 Americans each year (that’s 1 in 20 deaths). Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability, and reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over.
With seniors age 65+ accounting for two-thirds of all strokes in the U.S., prevention is critical to keep your loved one healthy.
While strokes are increasingly common, they are also highly preventable. Follow these five (5) tips to reduce your senior loved one’s risk of stroke:
1. Stay on top of prescribed medications.
High blood pressure, diabetes, and other health ailments can all increase your loved one’s risk of stroke. It’s extremely important to be sure Mom or Dad is taking all medications as prescribed by the doctor.
If you believe Mom or Dad may be having difficulty staying on top of medications, a voice-activated assistant may be able to help you deliver medication reminders. Professional home care services can also ensure your senior loved ones are correctly taking all their medications.
2. Provide the right foods.
A heart healthy diet can go a long way toward preventing stroke (as well as many other conditions). Whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, arugula and more, and avoiding fried and fatty foods can all protect our hearts.
3. Keep Mom or Dad active.
Exercise is a critical component of stroke prevention, and a healthy lifestyle. From taking walks to stretching at home, there are activities accessible to nearly every senior to help boost heart function and protect against stroke. Be sure to first talk to your loved one’s doctor to determine which exercises are safe for Mom or Dad.
4. Quit smoking.
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, but if Mom or Dad is a smoker, it’s past time to kick the habit! Smoking accelerates clot formation by thickening your blood and increasing plaque in your arteries. This is a recipe for disaster (among the many other health problems linked to smoking), so the time is now to kick cigarettes to the curb!
5. Avoid excessive alcohol.
In the past, doctors believed that one drink per day would not increase the risk of stroke; however, recent findings suggest that any amount of alcohol could raise the risk of stroke for you or a loved one. In the study, researchers found that one to two drinks a day increased stroke risk by 10% to 15% and that four drinks a day increased the risk of having a stroke by 35%. Their definition of a “drink” included a small glass of wine, a bottle of beer or a single measure of spirits.
Time is critical if you suspect a stroke.
To be fully armed to protect your senior loved one from a stroke, be on the lookout for these most common symptoms:
* Drooping on one side of the face
* When lifting both arms, one arm falls back down
* Slurred speech, or speech that sounds odd
* Numbness in the face
* A sudden, severe headache
* Vision loss
* Numbness and/or tingling
* Difficulty walking or unsteadiness
Protect Mom or Dad while keeping your loved one safe at home.
With so much on your plate, it’s impossible to provide one-on-one care to Mom or Dad 24/7. Home care services from Interim HealthCare can complement the special care only you can provide, and give extra peace of mind that your loved one is receiving exceptional care. To learn more about our senior home care services, contact your nearest Interim HealthCare location.