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Recognizing Signs, Symptoms of a Stroke Makes All the Difference for Older Adults

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Ruth was getting breakfast together for herself and her husband, Frank, when the left side of her body suddenly became numb and she started to lose her balance. Startled and confused, she turned to Frank for help but couldn’t speak the words needed to tell him what was going on. Thankfully, he recognized the signs of a stroke and called 9-1-1 immediately.

For patients – young and old – experts like Dr. Mark Milano, medical director of the emergency department at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset strongly believe that “time is brain” when it comes to responding to such symptoms and that there is no such thing as a bad false alarm because every second counts.

According to the National Stroke Association (NSA), strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in America and acting fast makes all of the difference.

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“For each minute that a stroke goes untreated and blood flow to the brain continues to be blocked a person loses about 1.9 million neurons,” explains the NSA. “This could mean that a person’s speech, movement, memory and so much more could be affected.”

To dispel several myths about strokes and to educate the public about prevention, the NSA issued a helpful list of facts about the condition which include:

  • Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable

  • A stroke can happen to anyone at any time

  • Stroke is a “brain attack.”

  • Stroke recovery is a lifelong process

  • At any sign of a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Treatment may be available.

  • There are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the United States

  • Family history of a stroke increases your chance for a stroke.

  • Temporary stroke symptoms are called transient ischemic attacks (TIA). They are warning signs prior to an actual stroke and need to be taken seriously.

Caregivers of stroke survivors can often feel directionless when it comes to knowing how to help a loved one recover and prevent future strokes. Staying connected with a network of doctors and experts who can also provide emotional and psychological support will ease that road to recovery. Don’t be afraid to reach out to support groups and consider creating a “care binder” that organizes medical documents and plans of care for your loved one.

The NSA website, www.stroke.org , offers a helpful eight-chapter “Careliving Guide” that can be downloaded and will help caregivers prioritize tasks and develop a plan for the survivor’s care,  provide resources, tools, templates and suggestions, offer tips on how to prevent recurrent strokes, and suggest ways to adapt to changing roles and relationships after a stroke.

But, before anything else, it is crucial to be educated about the signs and symptoms of a stroke in order to expedite care from medical professionals.

Here are the signs that one should be aware of, according to the NSA:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Tammy Woske, RN, BSN, LNHA , Director of Nursing at Stein Assisted Living Residence, which is part of the Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus in Somerset, suggested ways that onlookers can recognize a stroke happening to someone else.

“My nurse’s aides have recognized stroke symptoms by realizing the person is confused, unable to move a limb, has an uneven smile, a drooping face on one side or can’t speak,” she noted.

“Not all these symptoms happen at the same time to some, so it’s important to pay attention. And, of course, getting the affected person emergency help is key to a better outcome and quicker recovery,” concluded Woske.

This information is brought to you by The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, Wilf At Home, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, info@wilfcampus.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.orgstro

Ruth was getting breakfast together for herself and her husband, Frank, when the left side of her body suddenly became numb and she started to lose her balance. Startled and confused, she turned to Frank for help but couldn’t speak the words needed to tell him what was going on. Thankfully, he recognized the signs of a stroke and called 9-1-1 immediately.

For patients – young and old – experts like Dr. Mark Milano, medical director of the emergency department at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset strongly believe that “time is brain” when it comes to responding to such symptoms and that there is no such thing as a bad false alarm because every second counts.

According to the National Stroke Association (NSA), strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in America and acting fast makes all of the difference.

“For each minute that a stroke goes untreated and blood flow to the brain continues to be blocked a person loses about 1.9 million neurons,” explains the NSA. “This could mean that a person’s speech, movement, memory and so much more could be affected.”

To dispel several myths about strokes and to educate the public about prevention, the NSA issued a helpful list of facts about the condition which include:

  • Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable

  • A stroke can happen to anyone at any time

  • Stroke is a “brain attack.”

  • Stroke recovery is a lifelong process

  • At any sign of a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Treatment may be available.

  • There are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the United States

  • Family history of a stroke increases your chance for a stroke.

  • Temporary stroke symptoms are called transient ischemic attacks (TIA). They are warning signs prior to an actual stroke and need to be taken seriously.

Caregivers of stroke survivors can often feel directionless when it comes to knowing how to help a loved one recover and prevent future strokes. Staying connected with a network of doctors and experts who can also provide emotional and psychological support will ease that road to recovery. Don’t be afraid to reach out to support groups and consider creating a “care binder” that organizes medical documents and plans of care for your loved one.

The NSA website, www.stroke.org , offers a helpful eight-chapter “Careliving Guide” that can be downloaded and will help caregivers prioritize tasks and develop a plan for the survivor’s care,  provide resources, tools, templates and suggestions, offer tips on how to prevent recurrent strokes, and suggest ways to adapt to changing roles and relationships after a stroke.

But, before anything else, it is crucial to be educated about the signs and symptoms of a stroke in order to expedite care from medical professionals.

Here are the signs that one should be aware of, according to the NSA:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Tammy Woske, RN, BSN, LNHA , Director of Nursing at Stein Assisted Living Residence, which is part of the Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus in Somerset, suggested ways that onlookers can recognize a stroke happening to someone else.

“My nurse’s aides have recognized stroke symptoms by realizing the person is confused, unable to move a limb, has an uneven smile, a drooping face on one side or can’t speak,” she noted.

“Not all these symptoms happen at the same time to some, so it’s important to pay attention. And, of course, getting the affected person emergency help is key to a better outcome and quicker recovery,” concluded Woske.

This information is brought to you by The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, Wilf At Home, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, info@wilfcampus.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org

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