A woman builds her understanding of stroke risk and prevention while exercising to improve overall health.

Experiencing a stroke is only the first step in a series of challenges. The resulting effects from a stroke can linger long-term. In fact, the National Institute on Aging marks stroke as the top cause of disability in older adults.

As with other serious health issues, understanding stroke risk and prevention is key.

How Can Older Adults Avoid a Stroke?

The good news is that there are many proactive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of a stroke, including:

  • Quitting—or never starting—smoking. Smoking dramatically increases the risk of a stroke.
  • Routinely exercising. The doctor can provide specific recommendations and guidelines on the best exercise program for the older adult.
  • Following a healthy diet plan. Incorporate foods that are low in cholesterol and fat and include plenty of fruits and veggies at each meal.
  • Managing diabetes. Diabetes, when not properly managed, can damage blood vessels and narrow arteries, which can result in a stroke.
  • Watching blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Hypertension and high levels of cholesterol can both lead to cardiovascular illnesses and/or stroke.

These lifestyle changes can go a long way towards lowering the risk of stroke, and can also help prevent a second stroke if the person has experienced one.

What Are the Signs of a Stroke?

If, in spite of taking the steps outlined above, a person does have a stroke, it’s important to learn the signs and to act right away. Time is of the essence, and getting immediate medical care can be lifesaving.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance and coordination, or trouble walking
  • Drowsiness
  • A severe headache that develops for no known reason
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sudden vision problems
  • Confusion
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, particularly in the arm, leg, or face

What Will the Stroke Recovery Process Involve?

Recovery from a stroke starts with rehabilitation. This can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or speech therapy, depending on how the person has been impacted.

  • A physical therapist can help the older adult recover basic skills including standing, walking, sitting, and transitional activities.
  • An occupational therapist helps retrain individuals in activities of daily living that may have been affected, including preparing meals, getting dressed, eating, drinking, taking a shower, etc.
  • A speech therapist supports the recovery of speaking as well as understanding what others are saying.

The purpose of all of these rehabilitative therapies is to help the person improve independence and self-sufficiency.

The Role of Home Care

A home care agency, like Live Free Home Health Care, is an integral part of both helping a person prevent a stroke and assisting with a stroke survivor’s recovery. Our services are highly personalized to each individual’s needs, and can include:

  • Motivating the individual to stick to a doctor-approved exercise regimen
  • Running errands, such as picking up groceries and prescriptions
  • Planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Providing medication reminders
  • Offering transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and any other desired outings
  • And more

Contact us today to find out how an in-home caregiver from Live Free Home Health Care can improve wellness and safety for someone you love. You can reach us any time at 603-217-0149. We’re proud to offer care throughout Concord, Bow, Epsom, and the nearby areas.