May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a month dedicated to educating Americans about the facts and signs of a stroke. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk of experiencing a stroke only increases with age, and approximately one out of four strokes are repeated strokes.

As with all medical emergencies, early action is important in regard to a stroke. Early action could be the difference between mild and severe impairment or even life and death for those suffering a stroke. Most of us recognize sudden numbness on one side of the body as a sign of a stroke. However, there are other signs that indicate strokes that are often missed, such as slurred speech, difficulty understanding speech, blurred vision, or a sudden, severe headache. 

In order to help seniors and others recognize the warning signs of a stroke, the National Stroke Association has created an acronym. By taking the time to memorize this acronym, you’ll feel confident to act F-A-S-T. Fast action is critical so that your aging loved one can receive the help and treatment they need. 

F is for Face

One sign of a stroke is a drooping face. If you think your aging loved one is suffering a stroke, ask them to smile. Pay attention to the corners of their smile. Does one side droop? If so, it could be a stroke. 

A is for Arms

Another sign of a stroke is hemiparesis or weakness of one entire side of the body. A quick way to assess this is to ask your aging loved one to raise both arms. If one arm drifts down or they can’t seem to lift one arm, then it could be a stroke. 

S is for Speech 

Pay attention to your aging loved one’s speech, looking for slurred or strange speech as another sign of a stroke. It could be a stroke if they’re trying to carry on a conversation with you but aren’t making any sense or slurring their words together. If they weren’t talking, ask them to repeat a simple phrase to assess their speech quickly. 

T is for Time

If any of these signs are present, it’s critical that you contact help immediately. Call 9-1-1 and tell them you believe your aging loved one is suffering a stroke. They can dispatch first responders, who can then intervene appropriately. Remember that each minute a stroke goes untreated, the blood flow to the brain remains blocked, causing neurons to die. These three signs of a stroke should never be ignored.

A stroke can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function independently, and long-term care may be necessary to ensure their safety and quality of life. If your aging loved one has had a stroke and they need long-term care, Senior Living Solutions is here to help. We provide free placement assistance in Arkansas so that you do not need to navigate your options alone. We already know the best options available for older adults and can help you find the best fit for your aging loved one. Whether your loved one prefers home care or needs more hands-on care after their stroke, let us offer you our unbiased guidance and resources as you explore your options. To learn more, please contact us today by calling 501-650-3013.