How to Reduce Stroke Risk

May 9, 2018
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Each year throughout the United States approximately 795,000 people suffer strokes. Of these, more than 185,000, or 1 in 4, were people who had already suffered a stroke. Stroke remains the 5th leading cause of death throughout the country and the leading cause of long-term disability.

As a family caregiver, this can seem startling and can make you wonder if there is anything that you can do to help protect your aging loved one from suffering one of these serious medical events. Fortunately, experts estimate that 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

The home care that you give your loved ones can help them to stay healthier and reduce the risk that they will suffer a stroke during their later years. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to help your loved one do what they need to do to reduce their stroke risk and stay healthier as they age in place.

Strokes are scary and this might lead you to think that there is nothing to prevent them from happening, that they can occur at any time, and that there is nothing you can do to stop them.

This, however, is simply not true.

While most strokes do occur without warning, and certain types cannot be prevented, there are many things that you and your senior care aide can do to lower your aging loved one’s risk of having a stroke in the first place.

9 Ways to Reduce Stroke Risk

Some things that you can do to help your elderly loved one prevent stroke include:

1. Exercise More

Encourage your loved one to stay physically active throughout the day. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading risk factors for stroke.

Getting your parent active can help them to keep their body healthy and avoid a stroke as they age. It is not just the effects of the exercise itself that are beneficial. Getting enough physical activity also helps to reduce the risk of other health complications that increase the chances of suffering a stroke, including diabetes and coronary disease.

An elder care provider can help your parent find activities that they enjoy and encourage them to stay consistent with them throughout their later years.

2. Lose Weight

If your aging parent is carrying extra weight, help them to lose it in a healthy, safe way. Obesity is one of the biggest factors that leads to strokes, as well as many other medical problems.

Make sure that your senior loved one gets regular exercise, and that they aren’t consuming more than 2,000 calories a day. A sedentary lifestyle puts one at an elevated risk for both obesity and strokes, so make sure that your loved one moves around as much as possible.

3. Eat Healthier

Support your parent in eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. What your parent eats can make a tremendous difference in their stroke risk. Help them to make good choices that avoid trans fats, saturated fats, and excess sodium.

An elder care provider can help your parent eat a better diet by providing safe and reliable transportation to the grocery store so that your parent can select the foods that are right for them. They can also research healthy recipes that will give your parent what their body needs while also fitting in with their personal tastes and then get in the kitchen with them and provide meal and snack preparation assistance.

4. Follow Doctor Recommendations

Whether your aging parent is suffering from another health complication that puts them at increased risk of stroke or has already had a stroke and is trying to avoid suffering another one, medication and lifestyle choice compliance are essential to helping them achieve their goals.

Compliance is all about following through with the prescriptions and guidelines that your parent’s doctor gives to them so that they can get the maximum benefit from these.

A care provider can help your senior understand what their doctor has instructed and then offer reminders so that your parent will follow through with what they are supposed to do and when.

5. Monitor Health and Conditions

Prompt response to health problems can make the difference between your parent getting through their emergency health situation and potentially devastating consequences. An elder care provider can also give the valuable service of being an extra pair of eyes for your loved one.

When an elderly home care services provider is with your parent, you can feel confident if they show signs of an emergency health situation, including an impending stroke, the care provider can respond quickly and get in touch with you so that you can make sure that your senior gets the medical attention that they need as quickly as possible.

6. Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the number one health factor that leads to strokes. Help your aging parent manage their blood pressure so that it does not develop into hypertension.

If your parent is already suffering from high blood pressure, ensure that they are taking the proper steps to control it. It is important to check your loved one’s blood pressure often, and if it is high, you must take the necessary steps to bring it down.

A doctor can prescribe medications to help lower blood pressure, but you can also combat it at home by reducing salt in your loved one’s diet, having them stay away from fatty foods like greasy cheeseburgers, and having them eat more fruits and vegetables.

7. Manage Diabetes

Help your parent manage their blood sugar so that it does not develop into diabetes. If your parent is already suffering from diabetes, ensure that they are taking the proper steps to control it and manage it effectively. Diabetes puts them at a higher risk for strokes, due to the fact that high blood sugar damages their blood vessels. Monitoring their blood sugar and carefully watching their diet to make sure that they don’t have any incidences of blood sugar spikes can not only reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications, but can also lower their risk of having a stroke as well.

8. Quit Smoking

If your loved one smokes, encourage them to stop. Smoking is always an unhealthy habit, and if your loved one still does it, they should stop right away. Smoking thickens the blood and adds more plaque to the arteries, meaning that things like strokes and heart attacks become real possibilities.

It can be difficult to quit, but with the help of you, their senior care aide, and a doctor, even a senior who has been smoking for most of their life can make this change and become more healthy.

9. Sleep Better

Encourage your parent to get enough quality sleep every day.

If you put these tips into action, your aging loved one will be much less likely to suffer from a stroke. They are also helpful for preventing many other types of medical emergencies, so even if they seem a bit tough to put into action at first, you will be glad that you did.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Care Services

While there are many ways that you can help your parent to reduce this risk, one of the most beneficial and effective is to start home care services for them. The highly personalized services of an elder home care services provider can help your parent live a lifestyle that is healthier, stronger, and more fulfilling while also reducing their health risks as they age.

Staring home care for your elderly loved one can be an exceptional way to help your parent achieve and maintain a better quality of life as they age in place. By creating a schedule that is customized not just to your elderly loved one’s needs and challenges, but also to their individuality, goals, thoughts, and preferences, this homecare provider can help your parent to have the lifestyle that is right for them. An in-home senior care services provider can give your parent a highly personalized set of services tailored to help them stay safe, healthy, comfortable, and secure, while also encouraging them to remain as independent, active, and engaged as possible.

This can include encouraging them to make good lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy, balanced diet, providing safe and reliable transportation to where they need and want to go, and supporting their participation in physical activities that they enjoy and that will help them to maintain better health. This homecare provider can also provide companionship and support to encourage better mental and emotional health and well-being throughout their later years, as well as reminders to help them remain compliant with their doctor’s instructions as they either work to reduce their risk of stroke or work toward recovery.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today (888) 592-5855.