Having a stroke is a very serious and all too common condition. Molly Shomer, a contributor for an online resource for senior at home care, Elder Home Care Team, shares that “Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart attack and cancer, claiming more than 160,000 lives each year.”

Today’s medical advances are making a huge difference in quality of life for stroke victims. Early detection is important in providing the best care for these patients. So how do you know if someone for whom you provide elderly care at home is having a stroke? Just remember the word F.A.S.T!

F = FACE—Face him and ask for a smile. It should look symmetrical.
A = ARMS—See if he can hold his arms out to the sides; they should be at an equal height.
S = SPEECH—Have him repeat a simple sentence such as, “Today is Friday,” or “It is raining outside.” Do you hear difficulty in the speech patterns?
T = TIME & TELEPHONE—Write down the time when symptoms first appeared and report it to medical personnel. Telephone 911.

Remembering this simple acronym could diminish further complications or save a life.

Caregiver: Post Stroke Assistance
Every stroke sufferers’ needs are different. There are ways for a person who provides in home care, to be prepared to assist him to come home, whether he is live-in or has a place of his own. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research suggests a number of ways:

• Discharge: take note of all medical staff instructions for homecare and ask any questions before leaving the hospital.
• Medication: make sure the stroke survivor takes all his medication at the designated times. Set alarms as reminders.
• Health practices: Encourage healthy habits for eating, sleeping, exercising, relaxing, etc. Work to fulfill the requirements of rehabilitation professionals.
• New Challenges: “Help the person solve problems and discover new ways to do things.” These might include household tasks, using tools, Personal Home Care and others.
• Communication: Help whenever possible and always include him in the conversation.
• Feedback: If you need feedback on his progress, schedule some time with a visiting nurse.

Having a stroke can be devastating for a family. Companions, friends or family members who know the signs and seek immediate help can make a huge difference in the life of a family.

For families who need outside caregiver support, home care organizations such as Family Private Care, LLC are available to help provide professional in-home care. For a free consultation, you may reach Family Private Care at 404-252-9005 in Georgia, and in Alabama call (205) 870-8855.

www Stroke FAST