A stroke happens when the blood flow is cut off to part of the brain. This is a very serious medical emergency, and it is important to take action as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the better chance there is that the doctors will be able to restore the blood flow and avoid more damage to the brain.
If you are a caregiver for an aging loved one, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and what to do if one occurs. Here is a list of things you must do, so you will know how to react if this medical crisis occurs.
- Know the signs – When it comes to stroke symptoms, think F.A.S.T. F is for facial drooping. Is one side of your loved one’s face hanging lower than the other? If you ask them to smile, is that smile lopsided? A is for arm weakness. If you ask your loved one to lift both arms, does one droop or drift downward, as if they can’t hold it upright? S is for speech problems. Is your loved one having difficulty getting words out or slurring their words? Lastly, T is for time, of which you don’t have any to waste, leading us to our next instruction.
- Call 911 IMMEDIATELY – If you notice any of the above stroke symptoms, do not hesitate to call 911. Don’t wait for symptoms to get better, don’t call other relatives to ask what you should do, don’t call the family doctor to get assurance that it really is a stroke that your loved one is experiencing. Call 911 right away, and tell them that you suspect a stroke, so that they will get there as soon as humanly possible, since they know that time saved is brain saved.
- Take notes – The doctor or EMT will ask you what time the stoke occurred, so make sure to note what time you first started noticing these symptoms. Also make a note of what medications your loved one is taking, and whether they have any allergies. This is all information that a doctor will need to know.
- Stay with your loved one – If your loved one has a stroke, you will undoubtedly be terrified yourself. However, it is important to stay with them, so that they don’t fall or hurt themselves in any other way. It is also important to stay there to note any other symptoms that might arise.
- Stay calm – As mentioned above, if your loved one is suffering from a stroke, it is extremely scary for their caregiver. But remember that it is even scarier for the person experiencing the stroke, and they need you to stay as calm as possible. Take some deep breaths, and remember that most stroke victims are able to recover and return home, some even without lasting effects. Staying positive is important for their well-being, as well as for yours.
No matter how prepared you might be, a stroke is always going to be scary. Knowing the things on this list, though, will help you to know what to do if it happens, and will help you to stay more calm as you take action.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Evanston, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.