Seniors Engaged in Their Communities – More Benefits of Social Media Activity

Social networking sites let our senior loved ones stay connected and active in their communities. We often talk about it and now, thanks to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, there are numbers to back it up.

Why are we so interested in what seniors do online, especially on social media/networking (we use the terms interchangeably) sites? Being actively connected with other community members, whether across the street, across town or across the nation, keeps seniors engaged and social. That can help them avoid isolation, stave off depression and keep their minds active and healthier.

Staying engaged is especially important to those aging in place in their own at home. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+ let them get out into the community even if they can’t – or don’t want to – get out of the house.

Seniors Politically Engaged

Seniors, as the Pew report indicates, are involved in civic groups and activities at similar levels to other age groups. That’s true for both non-web based activity and those active on online. This is not a surprise to us, as we see older adults staying involved in those community activities that are important to them, at least as they are able.

While being active in community groups and even speaking out about political issues is popular with all age groups, less than half in all groups reported involvement. That was true for both online and offline activity.

When it comes to users of social networks, however, more than half across age groups are politically active on the social sites. That includes a whopping 57% of seniors who report being social network users.

Yes, when we get senior loved ones active on social media/networking sites they are likely to use those sites to stay connected with the world around them.

Seniors Participating Online

It’s one thing to read and even chat about political and community activities online, but fewer Americans take their participation to a higher level by leaving comments on blog posts or news stories they read or even contacting officials, signing petitions or sending letters to the editor.

While fewer seniors than other age groups do this online, which makes sense because there are still fewer seniors online, more than one in three online seniors report this type or participation. A similar number of older adults report being active participants in political discussions online.

More than simply stating their opinions, a number of seniors are reacting to what they read on social media sites. Almost one in three are motivated to learn more about something they read while half that number go forward and take action on a social or political issue.

Social Media – Senior Good

Sure, not all seniors want to be involved in political issues or even active in their community. Still, it’s great to see many are doing so online — especially when we consider that this is just one of numerous ways our senior loved ones can stay active and engaged via social media sites.

Connecting via the web and social media to the world around them isn’t just for those who would otherwise be isolated at home but has benefits to offer for all seniors. Whether they want to be involved in the issues shaping their (and our) world, stay close to family members, play online games or much, much more, there’s something for them online and on social media sites.

Yes, we are helping our senior loved ones when we urge them — and even equip and teach them, if needed — to become active on social networking sites and the web generally, but we may be doing ourselves and the rest of the family a favor as well. Getting older members of the family on a social network often brings others in the family closer through more regular communications via the messages, pictures and even videos that are shared.

Let’s get our senior loved ones online and active on social media! Need help getting started? Contact us and we can help!

Sarcopenia: Can We Stop Its Muscle Weakening from Causing Seniors’ Falls?

A single fall can severely alter – or even end – the life of a senior loved one. The brain injuries and fractures that result from a fall can transform an independent senior who’s aging in place to one who needs care in the home or even have to move into a senior living facility where greater care can be provided.

We have to do something to reduce the risk of falls.

As we age, we often lose muscle mass and thereby strength resulting in difficulty with balance, walking, a stooped posture and overall activities of daily living. Falls are too frequently an outcome of loss of balance, strength and muscle mass. This loss is known as sarcopenia. We think of frail older adults with gait disturbance and difficulty with mobility as a consequence of aging.

For many years, scientists have felt that sarcopenia was inevitable and therefore there was little anyone could do as they age to prevent this muscle loss. However now researchers are studying what preventative steps we can take to slow down the progression of sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia Risk Factors

  • A sedentary lifestyle is thought to be a major risk factor. Sarcopenia often afflicts those that are not physically active; however it also does affect active people
  • Being over 40 years typically begins muscle loss, which rapidly increases over the age of 75
  • Motor neuron death as our body ages, telling the muscles when and how to move
  • Malnutrition, which increases muscle wasting as a result of poor food and nutrient intake
  • Change in protein intake and requirements as we age, many older adults do not meet the minimum requirements for protein intake
  • Decrease in hormone levels

Fighting Sarcopenia’s Effects

  1. Increase physical activity, get moving every day! Engage in resistance training to build muscle. Exercise helps with protein synthesis, hormone balance and improved neuron function.
  2. Eat right with emphasis on consuming adequate protein sources and a balance in all foods. Be sure to get enough calories to maintain weight without loss.
  3. Take actions to avoid falls by creating a safe home environment, wearing properly fitting shoes all day, and finding activities that improve muscle tone!

There is no medication to cure sarcopenia. Interventions such as physical activity and a healthy diet designed to strengthen muscle are the most effective ways to live and deal with sarcopenia.

We talk frequently in our blog posts and on the Senior Care Corner Show about the importance of staying active for our physical and mental health. As scientists continue to learn more and make advancements in our health care outcomes, we all need to do our part to stay healthy. Let’s all get moving!

When Senior Loved Ones Need Long Term Care at Home: Financial Options

Aging in place — more than a buzzword, it’s a way of life for millions of older adults.

Many Americans, perhaps even you, wish to remain at home for as long as safely possible. However, to remain in the home of one’s choice, many senior adults will require personal care as functional abilities decline.

We often talk about the need to make homes and communities ready to accept aging in place older adults, but we need to consider how we can support seniors as they age in place and assist them to be financially ready to make this dream a possibility.

There are a variety of options to help pay for some or all of the costs associated with senior care services needed in the home, including accomplishing daily activities such as housekeeping, transportation, escort to medical appointments and shopping,; personal care tasks such as dressing, bathing, toileting, etc., pet care, meal preparation, errands, companionship, medication reminders, memory care and other important needs. Your senior’s nest egg alone may not be adequate to cover the costs associated with aging in place.

Programs to Help Get Long Term Senior Care in the Home

  1. Long term care insurance (LTCI): an insurance plan you purchase if qualified that provides personal care generally not covered by other types of health insurance such as Medicare and Medicaid. A person generally has to be in good health when obtaining the insurance and there are conditions which must be met in order to qualify. These conditions are getting more rigorous and the costs increasing. LTCI usually includes expenses of home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, nursing home and Alzheimer’s facilities. It often pays for a visiting or live-in caregiver, companion, housekeeper, therapist or private duty nurse up to seven days a week, 24 hours a day (up to the policy benefit maximum). LTCI can be expensive. It can’t be canceled once begun by the insurance company except for non-payment and is guaranteed renewable for the person’s lifetime. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners caution that a senior should not pay more than 7% of their income for LTCI.
  2. Long term care service contract: not an insurance plan but rather a contract for the provision of care. Covered services include companionship, overnight care, assistance with activities of daily living such as grooming, bathing, toileting, household chores provided by a home senior care agent, friend or family member who is cleared by the company to provide care. A monthly fee is paid by the senior upon entering the contract. There are no health questions, eligibility requirements or age limits. There are maximum allowed services and a short waiting period to obtain services once enrolled. You can opt into the program before services are required as a hedge in case of emergent need. Different levels of service are available depending on the required needs but come with an increased price point.
  3. Personal Services Contract (PSC): agreement made with family members who provide care in the home for an aging loved one to offset the personal and financial costs to providing this care such as reduced work hours. The expenses paid to a family member under this contract are considered legitimate for the Medicaid or VA benefit “spend down” process. If care and money are given from an elder to a family member without a contract, it is considered “love and affection” and could result in a penalty from Medicaid and may have to be paid back by the family member. A PSC has become more prevalent and has been considered by Medicaid to be a way to spend down assets, allow an elder to remain at home longer and transfer assets to a family member without penalty. This should be done with the consultation of an elder law attorney.
  4. VA Aid and Attendance: If eligible, a veteran can receive an additional monthly pension amount under the Aid & Attendance (A&A). Apply through your VA benefits center. You may qualify if one of these conditions applies to you.
    1. You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
    2. You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed.
    3. Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
  5. Life Care Funding:  an alternative option to a lapse or surrender of an in-force life insurance policy.   This plan allows a life insurance policy owner the ability to convert their life insurance policy into a Long Term Care Benefit Plan instead of abandoning their policy to qualify for Medicaid.  Some seniors abandon their life insurance policies due to inability to pay once funds have been “spent down” in order to qualify for Medicaid. This conversion option pays market value on the life insurance policy which can then be used to extend the time a person remains private pay and delays their entry onto Medicaid. Once in the plan, payments can be made to a long term care facility, assisted living facility, memory care, hospice or in home care. This plan is available in every state. It also preserves a portion of your senior’s benefit to pay for funeral costs and any remaining balance is paid to the family after death.

Help Loved Loves Make the Best Decision for Them

As with any legal and financial considerations that you and your senior make, it is always best to learn as much as you can. Seek advice from experts working only for you, not trying to sell something.

Keep in mind there is no one fits all plan when dealing with long term care planning and aging in place strategies. Each plan should be investigated thoroughly to be sure it will meet the financial budget of a senior as they age, provide the senior care that may be needed now or in the future, and satisfy all laws and regulations for everyone’s protection.

You should also consult with an elder law attorney who is knowledgeable in the needs of aging loved ones and can advise you and your senior on an appropriate course that will meet your needs.

Do you have any experience with one of these plans that you can share?

Connected Vehicles Could Let Seniors Drive Safely for More Years

Technology continues to touch all our lives in many most of us did not imagine only a few years ago. Now it is on its way to improve our experience with a variety of our personal transportation methods too.

No, we’re not talking about more technology that will distract us while driving. Just the opposite, this tech is intended to make us safer on the road.

Wireless technology using dedicated short range communication, similar to WiFi, in our vehicles is coming that will connect our cars, trucks, buses and even trains to make it possible to communicate safety and mobility information in order to prevent injuries, ease traffic problems and even improve our environment.

It seems like a tall order, doesn’t it?

Auto makers and the US Department of Transportation are working together now to make this a reality. They are connecting our car with the world around us. The goal of connected vehicle technology is to prevent accidents, injuries and death instead of focusing on just surviving crashes.

Connected Vehicles – What They’ll Do

  • Alert drivers about dangerous roadway conditions such as curves, accidents or other road dangers before they are unavoidable.
  • “Talk” to infrastructure (vehicle to infrastructure – V2I) such as school crossings, traffic signals and toll booths.
  • Prevent accidents from occurring especially at intersections and while changing lanes.
  • Tell drivers when a hazard is coming, such as work zone or even when a traffic light will change.
  • Inform drivers about road conditions, which will allow smarter choices to reduce traffic delays because we’re stuck in traffic.
  • Give alternate route data so drivers can avoid congestion or avoid travel in the area altogether.
  • Provide estimated times when public transportation will arrive using real time information, encouraging more to use those systems.
  • Reduce the amount of gas wasted while sitting in traffic, helping the environment, as well as improve fuel efficiency by using the real time data from traffic patterns.
  • Include crash avoidance sensors in a vehicle to vehicle (V2V) application for the prevention of accidents.
  • Provide “do not pass” alerts, collision warnings, safety messages, data telling drivers they’re following too closely or when cars are braking ahead, and other information about vehicles ahead to improve safety.
  • Give drivers real time data about road conditions, transportation schedules and traffic information.
  • Allow traffic management to evaluate transportation systems performance and thereby manage the systems.

Studies have been underway since 2011, finding that 9 out of 10 drivers would like this technology in the car they are currently driving.

Since 2009 there have been 5.5 million crashes, resulting in 33,808 fatalities and 2.2 million injuries. Advances in technology that give us all these vital pieces of information to make our travel safer can have an positive impact on these growing statistics. The connected vehicle researchers estimate that tens of thousands of crashes can be prevented each year using this new technology.

We will continue to keep our eye on the progression of connected vehicles. Why, you may ask.

This type of information in our senior loved ones’ vehicles could prevent driving accidents and perhaps allow them to maintain their freedom behind the wheel a little longer, even if their reactions aren’t quite what they were in younger days.

That’s good news for all of us!

Protecting Personal Medical Information: Your Rights Under HIPAA

Doctor visit or trip to the hospital been part of your agenda? If so, you’ve undoubtedly been given a paper to sign stating your health information is protected.

The privacy of individually identifiable health information has been protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which affects health insurance and healthcare providers. You and your senior give authorization regarding who can and who can’t be given your medical information.

Personal medical information includes all past, present and future information, such as actual medical record information and diagnoses, test results, images, how the provision of medical help was paid, information that can identify you (such as social security number), notes about your physical or mental care, and billing information.

Knowing and understanding your rights and those of senior loved ones is the first step in being able to assure they’re protected.

Your Rights Under HIPAA

  • You can get a copy of your records. There may be a fee for the photocopying or mailing but not the searching and retrieving. You should be given your medical records within 30 days if they are on site.
  • You can expect that your information will not be shared with anyone you don’t authorize — including employers or healthcare providers.
  • You can learn who has viewed your health information, which is known as an accounting of disclosures.
  • You can correct information you feel is not right and add items you feel are missing or incomplete known as right to amend. It should be updated within 60 days or a note included stating your disagreement if they feel the record is not incorrect.
  • You can request that your information not be shared with any particular individual or group.
  • You can request that companies, including your own health insurance carrier, are not told about the medications or tests you take if you pay for them yourself and they are not billed to insurance.
  • You can request that any contact with you be made in a specific way such as in an envelope, not on a postcard, or via a phone call to a number that is not at your home. You can also request that answering machine messages not be left.
  • You have a right to notices of privacy from providers.
  • You have the right to file a complaint about providers or insurers who breach your rights.
  • You should be notified if there has been a breach by a healthcare provider or organization and, as a result, unencrypted information has been shared by someone not authorized to view it.

Personal Responsibility Still Important

Yes, there should be a degree of comfort knowing personal health information is protected when dealing with a provider or organization covered under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. However, if you store your personal records with a private company, on your home computer or you post your information online as part of a support group or message board, not to mention on a social media site such as Facebook, that information is not protected by the law.

Remember: don’t post any health information that you don’t want to be public

Your health information is personal and should not be shared with those who may not act in your best interest or use it for illegal purposes. Safeguards have been put in place to protect your health information but unless we are aware of our rights and be sure they are not violated, damage can be done.

Know your rights and protect yourself and your senior loved ones.

Tech Home Improvement for Aging in Place on the Senior Care Corner Show

WiFi connection to broadband internet can add a lot to the health, safety and comfort of seniors aging in place, but only if they have it in their homes. That’s a role family members can fill for many seniors.

Home Improvement Month is the feature topic in this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show, but we’re taking a somewhat different angle. In addition to the safety checks and some improvements that are easy and inexpensive if needed, we have a new suggestion. Some of the safety steps we revisit include…

  • Make sure items that are needed in the kitchen are on lower shelves, where reach and balance aren’t tested when they’re needed.
  • Consider installing pull out or rotating shelves to put needed kitchen items up front without reaching or leaning.
  • See if cabinet handles and drawer pulls create difficulty for hands that are weak or arthritic and replace them as needed.
  • Remove or secure loose throw rugs in walkways or in the bedroom, where they can create slip or trip hazards.
  • Make sure smoke detectors are installed and in working order, including regular battery replacement.

Check out our Home Seniorization Checklist for more suggestions for making the homes of senior loved ones more livable for aging in place.

WiFi for Aging in Place

There are many ways in which home WiFi connectivity can improve the aging in place experience for senior loved ones – – and many more that are in development by the tech community. Benefits they can see today justify the use of WiFi for many.

  • Seeing favorite movies and family videos via Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and other streaming sources using connected blu-ray players, game consoles, TVs or other devices.
  • Ability to use computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices anywhere in the home that they choose.
  • Reducing reliance on increasingly restrictive and expensive cellular data plans by accessing the web with smartphones at home via WiFi rather than using the cellular network.

We discuss why the installation and setup of home WiFi is an important home improvement for aging in place loved ones in the feature segment of this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show. Check it out and decide for yourself if it’s something that could benefit your own senior loved ones.

News Items in this Episode

  • Constant Pain a Big Problem in Older Adults
  • One in Eight Older Adults Reports Mental Fog
  • Too Many Stroke Patients Don’t Call 911
  • As Pedestrians’ Age Rises, So Do Odds of Dying in Pedestrian Accident

Catch these news items, as well as Kathy’s Quick Tip on caring for dentures this time on the Senior Care Corner Show.

Links Mentioned in This Episode

 We hope you enjoy this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show and find it informative. Do you have suggestions for making seniors’ homes more livable for aging in place? We would love to get your comments!

Podcast Transcript – so you can follow along or read at your convenience

Social Security: What Family Caregivers of Seniors Should Know

Retirement! The mere word conjures fond thoughts in many of us who aren’t there yet but close enough to dream. Dream, that is, until thoughts of the money we need jolt us to reality.

When it comes to retirement finances, many of us not yet there treat Social Security as only a secondary piece of our retirement finances and are planning other strategies now to be ready when the time does finally arrive.

Some assume it won’t be there at all so all the money for their senior years will have to come from elsewhere.

Seniors Leaning Heavily on Social Security

Our senior loved ones, however, may not have realized that they would live longer than they could possibly afford.

Too many find that Social Security is not providing them with enough to live on without fear of an emergency or illness that could sap their small income. Some seniors are lucky enough to have a pension, some with pensions find that they are not producing as they thought and others who had some money set aside in their nest egg have spent it — or lost a chunk of it in the financial downturn.

That makes planning how and when to draw on Social Security a key.

When to apply for Social Security benefits and how to optimize what our senior loved ones can receive is important for us to know as caregivers so we can advise them to get as much money as possible to pay for retirement for the duration.

Social Security was set during the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt as a social insurance for all citizens. A fundamental concept behind the program is that we all contribute to and share the risks and benefits.

There are currently 62 million people receiving benefits. Social Security is intended to be self-sustaining, with contributions by those who are working. There are three different types of Social Security benefits which are independent of each other: retirement, disability and survivor benefits.

Social Security Benefits

There’s a lot to know about Social Security benefits, enough to fill volumes. We are being general and not trying to address specific individual situations. If you have questions about a specific situation or need, you might want to contact the Social Security Administration or a local expert.

  • The maximum benefit from Social Security will be obtained if your senior waits until their full retirement age (FRA), or even longer, to apply for these benefits. FRA is calculated based on your senior’s date of birth.
  • Your senior’s benefits are based on the average of 35 years of employment and looks at the highest earning years. One must work for 10 years to be eligible. Employer contributions match the deductions from employee paychecks.
  • Your senior will get a statement of their eligibility and earnings at FRA in the mail once they are 60 years and over. Prior to 60 years, the statement can be obtained from the SSA.
  • A retiree’s decision to apply for benefits likely depends on their situation, their health and ability to meet current living expenses. The longer a person waits to take Social Security, the higher the lifetime benefit will be.
  • Benefits can be received beginning at age 62 but the amount will be lower than waiting until FRA. If a person waits until age 70, the largest amount can be earned.
  • Survivor benefits can be paid to widows or widowers unless they are remarried. A divorced person can claim benefits of ex-spouse if they were married 10 or more years and more than one ex-spouse can claim spousal benefits. The rate is determined based on when the working spouse elected to get benefits. You must have necessary information to apply, as the government will not provide spouse’s personal information to you.
  • It is recommended that recipients apply 3 months before they plan to start receiving benefits. You must have a social security card, birth certificate, proof of citizenship, prior year tax form, and military service information for those serving before 1968.
  • Your senior can file and suspend their benefits in order to prevent any reduction if they return to work after they have begun receiving their benefits.
  • It is possible for others to claim benefits from your parents’ social security, such as dependent children or stepchildren younger than 19 and in school, dependent grandchildren or adopted children.
  • Couples who both worked and qualified for benefits are not penalized if they choose to receive the benefits of both at once.
  • Some of Social Security earnings may be taxable, however most are not taxed.
  • If your senior returns to work, even part time, their benefits will be subject to a penalty and reduced based on their income from their job.

There are many worksheets available to calculate your senior’s full retirement age, benefits based on year of application, how to calculate any tax liability, and other calculations you might wish to make. AARP’s site has a worksheet we found helpful .

The Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages everyone to plan for retirement and wait as long as possible, hopefully FRA to begin collecting benefits. They also want to remind people to apply for Medicare when the reach age 65.

You can contact the SSA via phone at 1-800-772-1213 or via the internet at www.ssa.gov.

Let’s Get Senior Loved Ones Walking – and Their Communities Walkable

US Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin has officially launched a new campaign called Every Body Walk! The goal of this initiative is to get all of us, our senior loved ones included, moving.

A major objective of getting everyone walking is to manage to our weight for better health, but in the case of our seniors another is benefit is simply keeping them safe.

We are strong proponents of physical activity and walking is a great way to get more healthy and maintain our current functional status as we age.

Health is Reward of Walking

According to Dr. Benjamin “The real reward is invigorating, energizing, joyous health. It is a level of health that allows people to embrace each day and live their lives to the fullest without disease or disability.”

This is a timely message as we read a recent study which informs us that seniors are at risk walking in their communities for injury and death as pedestrians. Government data shows that traffic-related death rates for men and women aged 75 and older were more than double those of people aged 34 and younger. Pedestrian deaths number 4,000 of the 34,000 traffic related deaths each year.

According to the CDC, older adults who walk on the street are often more frail, have functional limitations such as impaired vision, mental function and disabilities putting them more squarely in harm’s way.

Preventing Injuries to Walkers

The CDC recommends that cities take action to help us keep our seniors safe as they walk on our city streets.

  1. Install sidewalks where walkers are most likely taking a stroll.
  2. Install crosswalks with lights indicating when it is safe to cross.
  3. Install speed bumps in vulnerable areas.
  4. Reduce speed limits in the areas where walkers frequent.
  5. Create initiatives or laws that reduce distracted drivers.
  6. Create pedestrian safety zones and designated walking areas on streets.
  7. Improve lighting in areas where low light leads to poor vision.
  8. Install parks with walking trails that provide safe areas to get exercise and stay active as we age.

With so many people wishing to live and stay in their communities over their lifetime, it is important for us all to have places that are safe. Our seniors need to stay physically active but also remain safe getting adequate exercise. Because some city dwellers aging in place need safe walkways as their mode of transportation to get their basic needs met such as grocery shopping and doctor visits, it is important to advocate for safe walkable communities. What benefits our senior loved ones benefits us as well!

Seniors and caregivers will be more likely to participate in the Every Body Walk program if they feel safe and can walk in their communities without risking injury from unsafe walking paths.

Let’s all go take a walk now!

Stroke: What Family Caregivers Should Know for Self and Senior Care

Stroke – one of the more feared words in healthcare, though now more treatable and preventable than ever.

As a family caregiver, you may already be experiencing helping a family member recover from a stroke or are trying to help your senior loved one avoid a stroke.

We know how prevalent stroke is in the aging population, though less so than in the past, and want to help family caregivers be aware of what steps to take to prevent becoming a statistic or giving you some common sense hints to cope with a stroke in a family member.

Our common goal is to reduce disability and death associated with stroke in our older Americans (and our selves).

Stroke Facts

  • More than 750,000 people of all ages suffer a stroke each year in America
  • 1 in 18 people, or 130,000, deaths are reported each year from stroke according to the CDC
  • Someone dies from stroke every 4 minutes
  • Every year our risk has been declining
  • The risk of stroke increases with increasing age
  • 40% of Americans over age 80 will show signs of a silent stroke under MRI
  • Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability
  • Stroke costs an estimated $38.6 billion each year in healthcare costs and missed work days

Stroke Prevention

  1. Reduce your senior loved one’s risk of a stroke; prevention is the best strategy. The earlier you start, the better your senior’s health.
  2. Encourage your senior to keep blood pressure in the normal range. A blood pressure monitor makes a great gift (really!).
  3. Help your senior maintain weight.
  4. Motivate your senior to stay physically active.
  5. Manage your senior’s diet to include healthy food choices such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lower fat choices.

Many of these steps are being followed already, since more Americans are becoming aware of their importance to overall health. Because of this, the rate of occurrence for strokes is improving — though that is of little comfort if a loved one suffers a stroke.

Remember, family caregivers it’s easy to get caught up in all the demands on our time and attention, especially when involved in senior care for a loved one, forgetting these same prevention tips apply to us as well.

Common Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg—especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Action Steps if Stroke Occurs

  • Get your senior to the hospital as quickly as possible if you suspect a stroke.
  • Call the ambulance, don’t drive them yourself! Minutes count.

Treatment After a Stroke

  • Rehabilitation after a stroke to regain lost function is vital.
  • Assistive devices such as self-propelled wheelchairs, devices for dressing, adaptive equipment for feeding and other items that maintain independence are readily available and should be used as much as possible.
  • Rearranging furniture in the home to make getting around easier will help with independence.
  • Accept help from family and friends when needed, especially during the recovery period when some everyday tasks can be overwhelming.
  • Attend a stroke support group and learn more about stroke to be sure to take advantage of new techniques and treatments to make your senior’s life better.

We hope that you won’t need all these tips but learning all we can will help us be better prepared for a stroke emergency!

Do you have other tips for us that you think work well when dealing with stroke recovery? We would love for you to share your ideas!