May is Strike Out Stroke Month, where many organizations make a big effort to raise awareness and educate people on strokes. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, it can cause brain cells to die, leading to disability and sometimes death. Early medical help is critical but too many people don’t know what to do if they suspect a stroke is happening.
By teaming up with major and minor league baseball teams throughout the month of May, Strike Out Stroke organizers can educate thousands across the country. It’s the perfect time for family caregivers and elderly adults to learn more about what to do during a stroke. This important health information may just save a life and minimize the impact of the side effects of a stroke.
Strokes and Elderly Adults
More than 800,000 Americans suffer from strokes each year, and the majority are elderly adults. With a stroke, an elderly person runs the risk of physical disability, brain damage and even death. Because strokes can happen suddenly and without warning, the first few minutes of a stroke are critical when it comes to getting medical help. However, too many family caregivers and elderly adults don’t know the early signs and symptoms of a stroke, delaying treatment.
Strokes can be quite debilitating, and many seniors go from independent living before to requiring in-home assistance from family members and elder care providers. Strokes can affect how an aging adult does all kinds of daily tasks, from bathing, dressing and toileting to driving, preparing meals and even communicating. More immediate medical attention can have a serious impact on how the stroke effects the body.
Spreading the Word About F.A.S.T.
A big part of the Strike Out Stroke campaign is educating family caregivers, elder care providers and the seniors themselves on how to recognize that a stroke is happening so they can call 911 right away. To help people remember what to check, organizers developed the acronym F.A.S.T. to guide them. Here’s what the letters mean:
- F=Face. Caregivers should the elderly person’s face as they try to smile. If one side isn’t responding and can’t make the smile, it could be a sign of a stroke.
- A=Arms. A stroke interferes with a person’s body control, so family members and elder care providers should see if they can raise their arms up above the head. If they cannot do so on one side, that is a warning sign for a stroke
- S=Speech. Elder care providers and family members should test the aging person’s speech. If they are slurring words, stuttering or forgetting phrases, they may be having a stroke.
- T=Time. If any of the previous symptoms are present, family caregivers and elder care providers should not waste time in calling 911. Faster response to a stroke could make a big difference in severity as well as recovery.
With so many Americans suffering from strokes each year, it’s wonderful that many dedicated organizations are combining to promote Strike Out Stroke Month in May. The information they share may just make the difference in someone’s life if they or their loved one has a stroke.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN RALEIGH, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.
Kathy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) who is active in several other senior related organizations, including Alzheimer’s State Champion program, Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center board member, Ambassador for the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce, Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), Health Affairs Round Table (HART), and Senior Information Networking Group (SING).