Monthly Archives: October 2017

The 2 Things You Need to Know to Prevent a Stroke

The 2 Things You Need to Know to Prevent a Stroke

Did you know that Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States? According to statistics, every 4 minutes someone in the United States dies from a stroke. That’s nearly 130,000 people.

Although this is a large number, consider the nearly 670,000 people in the United States each year that suffer from a stroke but do not die. This group of people is extremely susceptible to long term disability due to the stroke. In fact, strokes are the number one preventable cause of disability in the United States. Worldwide strokes are responsible for the loss of 44 million years of healthy life each year.

For something so avoidable, you might be wondering why the public doesn’t have a better handle on preventing strokes in the first place. The answer, like most things, is that people simply aren’t aware of the steps they need to take to prevent them. Which is why the World Stroke Organization established the World Stroke Day campaign.

The goal of this one-day campaign, which took place on Sunday October 29, was to educate communities about the dangers and symptoms of strokes by partnering with doctors and organizations globally to share a united message.

To help do our part, we thought we would share the two most important steps in helping prevent strokes:

  1. Taking Preventative Measures
  2. Understanding the Symptoms

The most important thing you can do to prevent a stroke is to avoid behaviors that are known to increase your risk for a stroke such as eating food known to increase blood pressure, smoking, and excessively drinking alcohol. Below are three additional things experts suggest you should do to lower your risk.

  1. Eat a Low Salt Diet
    Did you know that high blood pressure nearly quadruples your risk of a stroke? To keep your blood pressure at a healthy level we suggest a low-salt diet that is rich in veggies and fruits, as well as exercising regularly. If you or a loved one have been prescribed medication to help regulate your blood pressure you need to remember to take it consistently.
  2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
    Did we mention exercise? We can’t stress this enough. Health professionals recommend aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise-type activity five days a week. You have probably heard the old phrase “2 birds, 1 stone”, well exercising is “3 birds, 1 stone”. Not only does it increase your cardiovascular health it helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers blood pressure. All 3 of which, lower your risk of experiencing a stroke.
  3. Visit Your Doctor
    The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be funny but you truly shouldn’t live by that mantra. We recommend having regular checkups with your doctor to make sure your body is working the way it should. Some health irregularities that you should keep an eye out for are: atrial fibrillation, diabetes, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Each of these can increase your risk of a stroke.

Even if you take all the necessary precautions to avoid a stroke, it might still happen. In that case, it is important to know the signs and symptoms leading up to and right after a stroke.

Considering that each minute a stroke goes untreated nearly 2 million brain cells die, having an awareness of prevention methods and warning signs can ultimately save the life of your elderly loved one.

The American Stroke Association recommends watching for:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs
  • Quick onset confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding
  • Vision issues
  • Trouble walking, dizziness and balance issues
  • A severe headache that comes up suddenly
  • Lack of coordination

Men and women also display stroke symptoms differently. In addition to the above symptoms, women should also be cautious of sudden:

  • Hiccups
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations

Another good way to remember the warning signs of a stroke are by remembering the acronym F.A.S.T which stands for:

F- Face drooping
A- Arm Weakness
S- Speech Difficulty
T- Time to Call 911

These are just a few of the many ways you can help your elderly loved one reduce their risk of experiencing a stroke. If you would like more help, feel free to reach out to us here at Wiser Home Care Services. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

The Caregiver's Guide to Emotional Health and Wellness

The Caregiver’s Guide to Emotional Health and Wellness

Have you ever felt like you were getting a cold so you took a bunch of Vitamin C, Airborne supplements, or other vitamins to boost your immune system and beat the sickness?

Chances are you probably have. Because, as we all know, keeping your body in good physical health is important. This idea of maintaining good physical health is drilled into us from the day we are born.

Think about it. We are inundated with regular doctor’s appointments, entire sections of stores are devoted to health supplements, we are bombarded by pharmaceutical ads on TV to maintain good physical health, we are taught that physical exercise is critical for our health, and if we do get sick many jobs provide sick leave.

Don’t get us wrong, we think physical health is extremely important but do you know what else is equally important and receives exponentially less attention? Our emotional health and wellness! Which is why every year the entire month of October is dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of the importance of emotional health and wellness.

As caregivers, focusing on our own mental and emotional health is critical but often overlooked. We get so overtaken but taking care of our loved ones that we forget to take care of ourselves. Even worse, we feel guilty for wanting to take time for ourselves.

We get it. We truly get how you feel, but we are here to tell you that you need to stop feeling that way. After all, if you can’t take care of yourself how can you take care of someone else?

Caregiving is emotionally draining and the longer you ignore your emotional health, the potentially more dangerous it can be for you or your loved one, but thinking of ways to mend your emotional health can be difficult. To help you, we have gathered our top 8 favorite ways to stay emotionally and mentally healthy. Keep reading. We hope you enjoy!

Get Your ZZZ’s
Have you ever gotten so tired that your brain just won’t work no matter how hard you try? Or you can’t control your emotions? If you answered yes, then you have first-hand knowledge of how important sleep is. In fact, sleep deprivation has been proven to lead to emotional instability, a compromised immune system and cognitive dysfunction. To ensure you remain emotionally and physically healthy, doctors recommend at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night for adults.

Get Social
Staying emotionally healthy isn’t always hard work. In fact, one of the most important things you can do for your emotional health is to go out and have a good time with your friends. Go to a concert, see a movie, grab dinner and drinks, just have fun with your friends. According to research, positive social interactions not only boost your mood but also challenge your brain and improve memory function.

Know the Signs of Caregiver Stress and Take a Break
Caregiving is stressful and there’s no getting around it. The important part is to beat stress before it gets out of hand. To do this, you need to have a good understanding of the signs and symptoms of caregiving stress. These include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
  • Being overly tired
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Quick to anger and irritation
  • Appetite changes

When you notice any of these, we recommend taking a break from caregiving and spending some time on yourself as soon as possible.

Get Fit
Yes, we know this seems more like a way to enhance your physical health, but exercise is known to create endorphins that help increase your mood and emotional health. Find a form of physical activity you love and set fitness goals. Working towards your goals will motivate you and help you feel good emotionally and physically.

Cut out Negativity
We all know a negative Ned or Nancy. You know those people who just drag your spirit down every time you are around them. You don’t need to cut them out of your life completely but what you should do is make your time with them minimal. Their negative attitude can greatly affect your emotional health and wellness.

Find a Support Group
Having a good group of friends to go out with will be a lot of help, but it is also important to consider finding a support group of people that share the same professional experience as you. You can share stories, garner professional wisdom and get emotional support from your peers. Here’s a good list of resources to get you started.

Don’t Feel Guilty
A common misconception amongst caregivers is that it’s a bad thing to want to do stuff for yourself. We understand that doing stuff for yourself may make you feel selfish or guilty but you should put those thoughts out of your head as fast as you can. It’s ok and important for your emotional health to do so.

Ask for Help
Wiser Home Care Services understands how draining caring for a loved one can be. We strongly believe that to be an effective and patient caregiver one must take care of oneself. No matter how much we love the people we are caring for and may want to care for them, it is still necessary to have breaks.

To help alleviate the stress, Wiser Home Care Services offers in-home respite care so the family can take care of other responsibilities and obligations or just have some down time to recharge.

Wiser Home Care Services can be there overnight so you can sleep, or just a few hours a week so you can:

  • Run errands, shop or exercise
  • Spend time with friends
  • Attend meetings or activities
  • Make a doctor or hair appointment
  • Enjoy much deserved quiet time

If you care for an elderly loved one and would like help developing a care plan of any kind, please feel free to contact us. Wiser Home Care Services can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs and help prevent falls and fall-related injuries.