Each year in the United States, approximately 700,000 individuals experience a sudden loss of blood flow to the brain, otherwise known as a stroke. These attacks can occur without warning, and permanent effects can include paralysis, vision and speech impairment, and even death. Many caregivers here in Fairfax County, who are aware of the prevalence and seriousness of strokes, are concerned for the health of their elderly loved ones.
What can you do to keep your family members safe from strokes? Here are a few helpful tips from Home Care Fairfax:
- Adopt a healthy diet. Avoiding foods high in salt and fat can notably decrease the likelihood of stroke. Plan meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and other heart-healthy foods.
- Your loved one must stop smoking. Smoking drastically increases an individual’s risk of stroke, so individuals who are at risk for heart disease should be strongly encouraged to quit. However, smoking is not an easy habit to give up, so make sure that your loved one knows that you will support him or her through the process. The American Heart Association also offers helpful tips on how to stop smoking.
- Limit alcohol intake. The occasional glass of wine or beer is unlikely to significantly increase your loved one’s risk of stroke, but regular heavy drinking can. Individuals looking to lower their risk of stroke should limit themselves to no more than two alcoholic beverages per day.
- Schedule regular medical checkups. If your loved one is at risk for a stroke, a doctor may be able to detect warning signs and provide appropriate medication. If medication is prescribed, make sure that your elderly family member takes it on the schedule outlined by the doctor.
- Stick to a regular exercise routine. Exercise can reduce an individual’s risk of stroke, and can help to maintain overall health. You may find that this is an activity that you can perform with your loved one, and knowing that you are working together can help both of you to stay motivated.
Caregivers should be alert for signs of stroke, which can include sudden weakness or numbness, slurred speech, confusion, dizziness, severe unexplained headache or difficulty seeing. If any of these symptoms appear rapidly and you suspect that your family member is having a stroke, call 911 without delay, even if the effects seem to disappear. While strokes can be serious, if they are treated immediately, long-term damage can be mitigated.
Have your loved one ever experienced a stroke? Do you have any helpful tips for our readers? Share them with us below or on our Caregiver Forum.
We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior who could benefit from our vast array of home care services in the Fairfax area , please call us at 703.750.6644, or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff of trained and certified home care personnel covering the Fairfax County, Virginia area.