Knowing the Signs of a Stroke
As a family caregiver, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of various diseases. One of the most important ones to be aware of is a stroke. Obtaining prompt medical attention can make all the difference between permanent damage and full recovery. Approximately 795,000 people have a stroke every year in the United States. It is the leading cause of long-term disabilities. 

What is a Stroke?

Similar to a heart attack, a stroke occurs because of a reduction in the blood supplied to the brain. This is most often due to atherosclerosis, or narrowing and hardening of the arteries. It can also be caused by a clot that has moved from another part of the body to the brain or a clot that has formed in the blood vessels of the brain or neck. The reduced supply of oxygen leads to damaged tissue and the death of brain cells. 

Treatments are available that can significantly reduce the damage incurred following a stroke. The sooner your parent receives medical care, the better their chances of recovering.  There is a 3 to 4 ½ hour window in which they can receive clot-busting drugs following the onset of symptoms. 

The Symptoms

A common acronym that can help you remember the symptoms of a stroke is FAST. This stands for the following:
  • Face Drooping. Your loved one tries to smile and only half of their mouth goes up into a grin. 
  • Arm Weakness. If they lift both arms up, one will start drifting down almost immediately. 
  • Speech Difficulty. Their speech may sound garbled or totally undecipherable. 
  • Time to call 9-1-1. 
Additional symptoms associated with a stroke include numbness, weakness, tingling and vision loss. Confusion and balance issues may also be noted. Headache, nausea and vomiting may occur. Symptoms vary depending on the part of the brain that was damaged. 

Following a Stroke

Your parent may require physical, occupational and possible speech rehabilitation following a stroke. It’s important that they receive this care, if needed, as it can make a big difference in the long run regarding long-term recovery. They will also most likely need to make lifestyle changes such as dietary changes, a new exercise regime and if they smoke, quitting. Risk factors for a stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. Helping your loved one stay in their appropriate ranges will go a long way in preventing a second stroke from occurring. 

Family Caregiver Respite

As a family caregiver, there is often a tremendous amount of added tasks and activities required from you following your parent’s stroke. It’s important to care for yourself as well as your parent as this can be a journey filled with both ups and downs as your parent undergoes rehabilitation. Consider obtaining the services of a home care provider who can assist with the daily activities of living. They can provide the care and compassion for your parent when you can’t be there. And you can spend needed time recharging and rejuvenating, knowing that your loved one is in good and capable hands. 


If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Draper, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility.  Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.

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