As your loved one ages, the potential for them to be at risk of a stroke can increase. According to the American Stroke Association strokes are the fourth highest cause of death. Caring for a senior that is at risk of a stroke can be challenging as well as frightening as there is little to no warning that your parent is going to have a stroke.
Caring for a parent that has had a stroke of any kind can be a difficult road as the recovery time can be long and slow depending on the level of severity of the stroke. While it may be hard to identify when a person that you are caring for is about to have a stroke, it is imperative to keep the acronym FAST in mind as the American Stroke Association has developed the term to help caregivers recognize that a stroke is occurring and to get help quickly.
FAST stands for:
FACE: You will see your parent’s face go numb or become paralyzed.
ARMS: There is an inability to keep both arms at the same level.
SPEECH: The speech of your parent will be slurred.
TIME: Get medical attention immediately.
It is important to note that the time that is taken to recognize a stroke is occurring in an individual and the time for help to arrive can be critical if a person is able to recover from the stroke attack.
While a stroke can be devastating for a family member, you should consider that 85 percent of stroke victims survive, making it imperative to get help at the very first sign
of a stroke and to keep FAST in mind when looking for symptoms in the elderly for strokes.
TIA Symptoms In The Elderly
Mini-strokes can be another indicator that a full stroke may occur in the near term for an individual. These mini-strokes are referred to as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). With a TIA, a person will experience a drop in blood supply to the brain. This can cause stroke-like symptoms and while they don’t last very long, they can have lasting effects in a person that is experiencing them.
While a TIA only occurs for a few minutes, it deprives the brain of oxygen and can produce symptoms of a stroke. FAST can be used to identify if a person is experiencing a mini-stroke or having TIA symptoms in the elderly to help prevent more permanent damage.
As many as 500,000 people have mini strokes symptoms each year and will go on to have a stroke in three months following the incident. Many people do not seek medical treatment for a TIA which can exacerbate the TIA Symptoms in the elderly. Individuals that have a TIA may also have high blood pressure or diabetes, making them higher risk for a stroke later in life.
Life After A Stroke In The Elderly
Because many of the effects of having a stroke can be permanent, it can be critical to making sure you get medical attention your parent needs when having a stroke. This can be critical to the damage to their brain which affects speech, motor skills, and clear thinking.
The road to recovery after a stroke can be long depending on the severity of the symptoms of the stroke, but there is life after a stroke in the elderly. They can be retaught how to speak and recognize objects again. Motor skills and coordination can also be worked on.
Some individuals may have an easy recovery after a stroke with little to no symptoms to speak of. Others may suffer more severely and have a tougher road to getting better. They may also have permanent symptoms that last for the entirety of their life.
As a caregiver, you should be mindful of the difficulties that your parent is having after a stroke. Depression can set in easily as they become frustrated with the healing process. Be there and encourage your parent along the way. Their progress may be slow, but there is hope that they can make a full recovery and regain their normal life activities.
Always keep FAST in mind when you are caring for a loved one as there is no warning that a stroke is occurring and you need to get medical attention immediately to help reduce their symptoms and save their life.