Families Advised to Monitor Seniors' Health during American Stroke Month

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Leading senior care provider urges loved ones to consider elevated risk of stroke for older Americans

Professional caregivers who are highly trained and know what warning signs to look out for can be there to help

Professional caregivers who are highly trained and know what warning signs to look out for can be there to help

Stroke can sometimes be a scary topic that aging seniors don’t want to talk or even think about, but it’s important for concerned family members to realize that stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, and the risks go up

For families with aging loved ones, very few serious health risks present the same level of concern as an unexpected stroke. In the U.S., someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and more than 75 percent of these occur in people over the age of 65. Fortunately, fewer than 20 percent of all strokes are fatal – but unfortunately, most stroke survivors suffer some lingering health effects that affect long-term quality of life.

May is American Stroke Month and locally, Senior Helpers, a leading in-home care provider that cares for senior stroke survivors every day, is spreading awareness about the prevalence of stroke among aging Americans. Although strokes can seemingly strike without warning, Senior Helpers of Havertown, PA is encouraging families to talk to aging parents and relatives about some simple lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk.

“Stroke can sometimes be a scary topic that aging seniors don’t want to talk or even think about, but it’s important for concerned family members to realize that stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, and the risks go up drastically with age,” said Kevin Herman, with Senior Helpers of Havertown, PA. “After a close family member suffers a stroke, there is a high likelihood that they will require a little bit more help and a little bit more attention for the rest of their life.”

“Most stroke survivors still enjoy a very high quality of life, but most also require an extra pair of hands around the house to help out,” Herman added. “In situations where friends and family may not always be available, professional caregivers who are highly trained and know what warning signs to look out for can be there to help.”

A few quick facts about stroke and seniors:

  •     Strokes are the sudden damage or loss of a section of brain cells caused by restricted flow of oxygen to the brain, usually due to hardened arteries or blood clots.
  •     Stroke is the leading cause of disability and third leading cause of death across the country (Alliance for Aging Research)
  •     Almost 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke every year, and more than 185,000 of these are recurrent attacks (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  •     Chances of having a stroke doubles each decade after turning 55 (Alliance for Aging Research).
  •     75% of all strokes occur in seniors over the age of 65 (American Stroke Association).
  •     90% of all stroke victims suffer lingering, long-term effects (University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey)

The latest research from the American Stroke Association shows that women tend to be at slightly greater risk of suffering a fatal stroke than are men, and that seniors living in the Southeast are more at-risk than individuals in most other geographic regions. There are a number of factors that increase the risk of stroke, including age, family history, high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and also any medical history involving previous episodes or symptoms of stroke. However, some basic and simple lifestyle changes can reduce the overall risk for millions of aging Americans.

Health experts recommend avoiding high fat and cholesterol foods on a regular basis, keeping blood sugar levels under control (especially for seniors with or at-risk of diabetes, reducing sodium in daily diet, and eliminating smoking and the use of tobacco products as soon as possible.

When it comes to stroke, every second counts. If any of the following common warning signs appear, seek medical help immediately:

  •     Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body
  •     Sudden confusion or trouble speaking and understanding
  •     Sudden trouble seeing out of one eye
  •     Sudden trouble walking or loss of balance
  •     Sudden, severe headaches without cause

About Senior Helpers:
Senior Helpers connects professional caregivers with seniors who wish to live at home as opposed to a nursing or assisted living facility. The company has 300 franchises in 39 states and one in Canada offering a wide range of personal and companion care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and peace of mind for their families. Senior Helpers strives to be the leading companion and personal care provider that offers dependable, consistent and affordable home care.

For more information, please visit http://www.seniorhelperspa.com.

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