Strokes are a very serious threat to seniors. Almost 75% of strokes that happen each year happen to seniors who are 65 or older. And the risk of having a stroke increases as seniors get older. Strokes are one of the five leading causes of death. Strokes that aren’t fatal can cause serious brain damage that can leave seniors unable to use their limbs or speak. That’s why all seniors, their families, and their in-home care aides should know the signs of a stroke.
If you observe any signs of a stroke in a senior loved one don’t wait to see if it’s a stroke. Call for help immediately. Time matters when a senior is having a stroke. The sooner your senior parent receives medical treatment the more likely they are to recover from the stroke.
Seniors that are aging at home and have a high risk of stroke because of other medical conditions should have in-home care services. When your senior loved one has in-home care they won’t be alone. Someone will be there who knows the symptoms of strokes, heart attacks, and other emergencies and can get medical help right away.
The most common signs of stroke in seniors that you and in-home care providers should watch out for are:
Sudden Weakness or Numbness
Weakness or numbness by itself doesn’t indicate a stroke. Lots of seniors and other people have chronic numbness in their limbs from nerve damage or other medical conditions. But if the onset is sudden and your parent complains that all of a sudden they can’t feel their fingers, arms, feet, or other extremities that is something you should take seriously. If they can’t stand up or move their limbs because of weakness that is also a sign that emergency help should be called.
If your senior parent’s face suddenly seems droopy on one side or looks like it’s suddenly melted call 911 immediately. Drooping or sagging on one side of the face is a very common sign of a stroke. Sometimes it may be very noticeable but in other cases it can be just a slight sag or droop. Pay close attention and if your loved one’s face suddenly looks “off” or strange get your phone and call 911 right away.
Blinding Headache Pain
If your senior loved one suddenly complains that they have a blinding headache or very severe headache pain don’t dismiss it. Call for help. It’s most likely not just a migraine or a severe headache, especially if your senior parent doesn’t have a history of migraines or severe headaches. Don’t give them any headache medicine. Just get to the emergency room.
Sudden Vision Loss
Seniors who have a stroke often will experience vision loss or have trouble seeing at the onset of the stroke. They may not go blind totally but they have blurry vision, get dizzy, or be unable to see out of one eye. Anytime your senior loved one complains that they suddenly can’t see call emergency medical personnel right away and get them to come to the house.