September 1, 2020
Courtesy of Brooke Chaplan
As you grow older, deciding where you’ll live plays a big part in your overall quality of life. While there are many options, one of the best options for many people is a home in a gated community. If you want the very best for your golden years, then you need to consider all of the advantages that a gated community offers over other types of living situations.
As exclusively self-contained neighborhoods, gated communities often offer multiple amenities for their residents. If you want to stay active when you’re older, then these amenities are a must-have to ensure optimal daily activity levels. Plus, since the amenities are exclusive to a select group, you won’t have to worry about overcrowding, which can help to keep you healthier.
One of the biggest benefits of considering homes for sale in Governors Club is the extra security offered by a gated community. As you age, you become more vulnerable to threats of assault, break-ins, and other crimes because you are seen as having less strength, making you an easier target for criminals. Therefore, if you want the ultimate assurance of safety, having a guard on-duty at all times is the best way to do it.
No Door-to-Door Salespeople
Another group that tends to prey on senior adults is door-to-door salespeople. It is easy for these people to fabricate some type of story to get you to buy their products. In a gated community, though, the only people who will be knocking on your front door will be people that you invite to your home. This means you won’t get taken advantage of and you won’t have dinner interrupted by someone trying to sell you a “new and improved” vacuum cleaner.
When you live in a gated community, you’ll notice that all of the residents are proud to be there. This means that people take pride in their homes and you’ll be more likely to find them outside so that you can strike up a conversation and make new friends. As you age, being integrated into a strong community is essential to protect your mental health, meaning that a gated community is exactly where you need to be.
No Time Like the Present
For many people, moving to a gated community is something they’ll get around to “eventually.” However, with all of the benefits that await you in a gated community, the best time to move to a new home in one of these communities is right now. You’ve worked hard to have the chance to make this move, so take advantage of that hard work today.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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August 31, 2020
Courtesy of Anica Oaks
Making your home mobility-friendly is important for loved ones who require the use of special equipment or mobility aids to navigate their living space. Fortunately, your house can become more accessible for these mobility needs by making relatively minor and cost-efficient adjustments.
Some homes are structured with wide doorways that accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and other types of equipment used for mobility. Other homes may need to widen the doorways of at least a few rooms for this purpose. Fortunately, doorways can be widened or even removed to accommodate a family member’s mobility appliances as needed. Not all rooms would necessarily need to have a wider doorway, but just those that are used routinely by loved ones with mobility needs. These might include the person’s bedroom, a nearby bathroom, and the living room or family room.
Open Up the Living Space
You can also arrange accessible rooms to be more open in terms of moving furniture closer to the walls or buying smaller furniture pieces. Clear any barriers between rooms that will be accessed with the help of mobility equipment. Wide open spaces make any room or area more accessible, including hallways, foyers, and exits.
Everyday clutter like shoes, newspapers, or toys typically don’t bother most of us, as we learn to step over these items or pick them up when encountered. However, family members who are using mobility devices may not be able to easily get around or remove things in their way. Each day check for items that may be incidentally strewn in their path so that you can make the way clear for crutches, a walker, a wheelchair, or a stair elevator.
Designate Specific Areas for Mobility
Remind family members to keep certain areas of the home accessible at all times to loved ones who are mobility-impaired. Get everyone involved in picking up after themselves and clearing the regular pathways of family members who rely on equipment to move from one area to another. Discarded clothes and towels in the bathroom should be placed in the laundry bin instead of left lying on the floor. Pet toys should be kept to a certain area for that location only.
People who use mobility devices may benefit from installed handrails in strategic places. Hallways, bathrooms, and eating areas are prime locations for handrails that can be used to assist mobility if needed.
Caring for loved ones who require mobility assistance can be facilitated with steps like these. Help your family members who depend on mobility aids to navigate the home comfortably and safely.
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August 26, 2020
By: Rachel Wonderlin, MS, Dementia by Day
I wrote this a few years ago, but just added four more “things” to my list. If I get dementia, I’d like my family to hang this wish list up on the wall where I live. I want them to remember these things. The original list was also published in my book, When Someone You Know is Living in a Dementia Care Community.
- If I get dementia, I want my friends and family to embrace my reality. If I think my spouse is still alive, or if I think we’re visiting my parents for dinner, let me believe those things. I’ll be much happier for it.
- If I get dementia, don’t argue with me about what is true for me versus what is true for you.
- If I get dementia, and I am not sure who you are, do not take it personally. My timeline is confusing to me.
- If I get dementia, and can no longer use utensils, do not start feeding me. Instead, switch me to a finger-food diet, and see if I can still feed myself.
- If I get dementia, and I am sad or anxious, hold my hand and listen. Do not tell me that my feelings are unfounded.
- If I get dementia, I don’t want to be treated like a child. Talk to me like the adult that I am.
- If I get dementia, I still want to enjoy the things that I’ve always enjoyed. Help me find a way to exercise, read, and visit with friends.
- If I get dementia, ask me to tell you a story from my past.
- If I get dementia, and I become agitated, take the time to figure out what is bothering me.
- If I get dementia, treat me the way that you would want to be treated.
- If I get dementia, make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me in the house. Even now if I don’t eat I get angry, and if I have dementia, I may have trouble explaining what I need.
- If I get dementia, don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room.
- If I get dementia, don’t feel guilty if you cannot care for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not your fault, and you’ve done your best. Find someone who can help you, or choose a great new place for me to live.
- If I get dementia, and I live in a dementia care community, please visit me often.
- If I get dementia, don’t act frustrated if I mix up names, events, or places. Take a deep breath. It’s not my fault.
- If I get dementia, make sure I always have my favorite music playing within earshot.
- If I get dementia, and I like to pick up items and carry them around, help me return those items to their original places.
- If I get dementia, don’t exclude me from parties and family gatherings.
- If I get dementia, know that I still like receiving hugs or handshakes.
- If I get dementia, remember that I am still the person you know and love.
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August 18, 2020
August 12, 2020
Written by: Dr. Pamela Tronetti, DO
Sponsored by Parrish Healthcare
Mrs. James sat by her husband’s hospital bed as the days turned into weeks. Every day she peppered the staff with questions, pointed out little problems before they became big ones, demanded to know the plan for the next day, and monitored his diet, physical activity and symptoms.
Each time a new team of residents and students came, she gave them a thorough report. She also made sure that everyone knew that her husband was a person first and a set of symptoms second.
She was the watchdog who protected him. She never had to bite or even growl, but she occasionally had to bark. When someone you love is in the hospital, they need someone to be their advocate, spokesperson, and yes, watchdog. Here’s what you need to do.
You will need multiple copies of your loved one’s medical history, surgeries, allergies, and medication list. Give one to every consulting doctor, nurse, or pharmacist who comes in.
Keep a notebook to record who was in and what they said (“Karen the speech therapist says that mom needs a mechanical soft diet.” “Dr. Bo will read the echocardiogram and may do a cardiac catheterization.”)
Bring your own dry erase marker for the room’s whiteboard. You can leave your name, phone number, and notes for the staff such as “Mom is hard of hearing.”
“Fine” is not acceptable. If someone tells you that a blood count, pulse rate or oxygen level is “fine,” get the exact number. You need to track and trend numbers and get printouts of all other tests such as x-rays and cardiac reports. A good option is to access the hospital’s patient portal to see the results of all the testing.
What is your loved one eating? Sometimes when people are admitted they are placed on clear liquid diet and it is never advanced to something more substantial. Check the printout that comes with their meal tray to see what diet is listed. Advocate for as liberal a diet as possible.
On the other hand, if you know that they are scheduled for a test and should be NPO (nothing by mouth) make sure that everyone knows that. The last thing you need is to have an important procedure canceled just because someone mistakenly brought breakfast into the room and your loved one ate it.
And one more hint. Avoid the rush hours when ordering meals. Call in your dinner order before 4 p.m., lunch before 11 a.m. and breakfast the night before if possible.
Get your loved one out of bed. Get your loved one out of bed. Get your loved one out of bed! Unless there is an unstable fracture or critical medical illness, they need to be out of bed and walking as much as possible. If it is too difficult for the nursing staff, ask if there is a lift team who can help the patient get up and move around.
Use your eyes and ears. Check out as much of their skin as they will allow. Note any rash, open sores or discolored areas. Point them out to the rounding physicians. Also report if your loved one was coughing, wheezing, vomiting, constipated, complaining of pain, or if they have any other symptom that worries you.
Know the plan for today, the next day, and the rest of the stay. Get a printout of the orders for the day – labs, procedures, and tests. Then ask what will happen based on the findings. Sometimes it is a watch and wait (if someone is recovering from an acute infection or a stroke), but other times there are definite steps to be taken (three days of recovery after joint replacement surgery then rehab) and you need to be part of them.
Discharge planning is facilitated by the Case Management staff. The case manager is the person who can make arrangements for nursing home, rehab center, and home healthcare. You will want to talk to her early in the stay. You also need to make it clear that you need at least 24 hours to plan for any transfer back home or to a facility.
Remember that you don’t need to have the staff like you. You just need them to do their job while you do yours.
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August 11, 2020
By Brooke Chaplan
Whether you are aging, or you have parents who are living with you, it is important to make the home safe for everyone. Because older people can slip and fall easier, it is a big deal to eliminate trip hazards. Ensuring the elderly can navigate the garage may be vital to some households. We give you four ways you can improve your garage area to make it more convenient and accessible for older family members.
Using a lift or a chair rail can significantly improve the ability to get into the house from the garage. This change is especially important when you have several steps leading into the home or a split-level house. These lifts allow older members to sit while toting groceries or other purchases. These items can allow people to stay at home instead of going to an assisted living center.
Larger doors give the elderly room to use walkers, canes, and wheelchairs. Even if the person does not use these items, there may be a time when they are necessary. Installing bigger openings provides ample access for visitors and household members who use walking aids. The larger doors are also helpful for allowing people to get through the door with an arm full of items without knocking them to the floor.
Clear and clean paths
A flat, dirt-free surface is important to keep your family members from falling. A concrete floor with texture or tile overlay can provide the footing older people need to feel secure when walking and prevent slips. Your trusted, local concrete company can provide you with several options to consider for your home, budget, and needs. Keeping at least ten feet of space between the wall and a wheelchair accessible vehicle will give people plenty of room to turn around and get in and out of the van safely. Another idea is to use storage shelves that you can anchor to the walls. Putting belongings in clear totes will make it quicker to find the things you need.
All the above tips will do no good without the proper lighting. High-intensity fixtures and LED lights will provide enough Lumens to brighten up the entire garage. As we age, we may not see as well, so upgrading the lights and cleaning them often may be the biggest help.
Taking care of yourself and older family members means thinking about every area of the home. The garage is one place many people forget about when updating. This area is very important because many people do not have a way to get to a phone if they fall unless they have a cell phone in their hand.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She recommends looking into window installation near you. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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July 16, 2020
Sponsored by: EasyLiving Fl Home Care & Care Management
Do you dread getting on the phone with your elderly parents? Is every visit filled with complaints? Are you left feeling you can do nothing right? Today, our experts will share common complaints from elderly parents and the underlying emotions. Understanding what’s behind the complaints will reveal solutions. We’ll address seven key complaints. And, we’ll offer ideas, resources, and options.
“You’re always in a rush.”
Other related complaints you might hear include: “I never see the grandkids anymore.” Or, “Why don’t you have time for me?”
This and other complaints may have their roots in loneliness. About half of seniors report feeling lonely on a regular basis. Have your elderly parents cut down on favorite activities? They may be bored and isolated, which leads to them focusing on you.
On the other hand, they might feel rushed during the time you do have together. Maybe rightly so. You likely have a lot of tasks and competing demands. You’re just trying to be helpful and get things done for them. But, it’s easy to become a taskmaster and lose the normal parent-child relationship.
- A senior companion/concierge service can help Mom or Dad continue their favorite activities. Our companions have great success engaging elders and offering them a new lease on life.
- Give yourselves the gift of quality time. Enlist someone to handle certain tasks so you can set aside “us time”. You could hire a care manager to attend doctor’s appointments or organize paperwork, a gardener/lawn service, or a caregiver to do light housekeeping or grocery shopping. There may be community services, friends or family members who can help out too.
- Schedule a regular time together. This might be a weekly dinner or outing. If you live far away, plan to Skype/Facetime once a week to catch up. Put it on your calendar and theirs. Set aside focused time. This may help to cut down on phone calls when you’re distracted by a million things.
- Check out two great books on this topic, with ideas for handling these conversations. How to Say it to Seniors by David Solie and Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders by Mary Pipher
“You never help me.”
Some elderly parents don’t say this directly but have a lot of complaints about things that need to be done. Or, the conversational tone will always be “woe is me” or martyrdom. They might complain about how tired they are or list all their tasks. Other parents pointedly talk about all the marvelous things that their neighbor’s son does for him.
Help for you both
You probably do a lot for them. And, you’re probably stretched thin with all your roles. It’s not a cop-out to hire someone to help. You don’t want your elderly parents hurting themselves doing things they shouldn’t. But, the reality is you can’t do it all either…and still be the son/daughter.
Pick out a few key tasks and bring in some help. Explain your boundaries and ask them to give it a try. Enlist help from a sibling or professional if you get resistance. Alternatively, get them to try it for a project or short-term need. You can’t control how they behave, but you’re in control of your boundaries and how you react. However, because we have a long, often complicated, history with our parents this can be tough. If you’re struggling, consider talking this through with a professional.
“You just want to put me in a home.”
This is often accompanied by complaints about other people’s kids or today’s society. “How awful, they just dump their elderly relatives in a home.” They may tell you horror stories of someone’s facility experiences.
Don’t promise something specific that might not be realistic. For example, don’t say “I will NEVER let you go to a facility.” Instead, reassure them that this isn’t your intention and suggest meeting with a professional to make a plan.
You can actually turn this complaint into an opportunity! Get a geriatric care management assessment to make an “aging in place plan”. The care manager will assess the home for possible safety issues. She will suggest resources. (Check out our aging-in-place checklist for some recommended resources.) The plan will prioritize what needs to be done now along with future planning. Clients and families both find this process hugely reassuring.
“You’re always nagging me. Stop telling me what to do. I’m not your child.”
Every nice chat turns into a fight. You are just trying to tell Mom what she needs to do to stay healthy. A genuine concern about Dad’s safety makes him feel like he is being disrespected. The dynamics of eldercare can be quite complicated. After all, these are your parents, not your children.
It’s all in the approach
Get some advice on how to approach the situation. You might just do a phone consult with a care manager to start. Or, you might want the reassurances of that comprehensive assessment.
Here is a small snippet of one family’s success story getting “unstuck” with the help of a care manager:
Julie (care manager) was especially helpful as we all flew in for a “loving intervention”. If it were not for Julie’s one-on-one time with our mother, and the wise counsel and respect she gave to her, I am convinced we would still be stuck…and sick with worry. Instead, Julie empowered Mom to face the next chapter of her life. She also coached us on how to have a loving intervention…
“I’m completely trapped now that I can’t drive.”
Driving was the main lunchtime topic on a recent visit to my grandfather. He willingly, though reluctantly, gave up driving. His memory is a little muddy as to how that came about at times, but he never forgets the loss. Fortunately, the family made an action plan before even approaching the driving conversation. He has a driver all lined up to help with trips that are not included at his retirement community. He set aside the funds from selling his car to pay for this.
Drive to thrive
If your parent is reliant on you or friends for rides, they will complain. Wouldn’t you? Furthermore, the results may be worse if they don’t complain about it but simply withdraw from activities. A lot of unhappiness and complaining may stem from being lonely and depressed. Make sure to set up a realistic plan so they can thrive without driving. This may include some combination of senior transportation services and a private driver.
Ride services provide a lot of freedom, especially for on-demand rides. Until recently, that required having a smartphone and navigating an app. Not all elderly parents want to (or can) do that. Now, you can request Uber and Lyft from a computer. Or even better, EasyLiving with Lyft Concierge can handle it all for you with just a phone call!
Does Dad constantly talk about what a disappointment your brother is? Or, does Mom pit you against (or compare you to) your siblings? On the other hand, you may find yourself in an ongoing battle with your siblings. Perhaps you are not on the same page regarding what Mom and Dad need. Or, one of you lives nearby and the other far away. The caregiving situation may seem unbalanced.
It may be time to get someone to intervene. A good resource to get started is this article our care management team wrote about dealing with family conflict in eldercare.
“I’m tired of eating TV dinners.”
A lot goes into meal preparation. This can get tough as someone gets older. It’s also difficult cooking for one. Plus, elderly parents’ appetites and nutritional needs often change. And moreover, most people don’t like eating alone. All this adds up to many seniors eating TV dinners or subsisting solely on snacks and sweets.
- Use a grocery delivery service like Shipt to deliver fresh foods. Eliminate the hassle of shopping. The healthier foods in the house, the less likely they’ll turn to canned goods and frozen meals.
- Hire a meal prep caregiver to come in four hours/week. She can do some light housekeeping and prepare healthy meals for the week.
- Plan a Sunday lunch together. Enjoy a weekly meal where you prepare some of Mom or Dad’s favorites. Stash some leftovers for them to eat throughout the week, or provide some extra meals they can reheat. More than the food itself, the focused time together matters (see #1).
- If you live far away or sense your elderly parents hate eating alone, consider hiring someone for both meal prep and companionship. If you already have a caregiver involved, take this into consideration in scheduling. Sometimes we think of tasks Mom needs to be done but forget about this key ingredient. Why not have the caregiver come around lunch or dinner so they can also provide mealtime companionship?
Check out more ideas, including meal delivery services, in our post How To Help Dad with Better Nutrition: Three Delicious Ways.
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June 23, 2020
By Meghan Belnap
If you have plans to get cataract surgery, it’s important that know what to expect. Cataract surgery involves removing the lens of the eye and replacing it, giving the patient clear vision. As you learn more about cataract surgery, make sure your ophthalmologist covers the following details.
When performing cataract surgery, doctors use different techniques used to remove the lens. Up until a few years ago, phacoemulsification was the most popular technique for cataract surgery. This process utilizes an ultrasound device to dissolve or emulsify the cataract. Now, many of today’s ophthalmologists use laser-assisted surgery as their procedure of choice for cataract surgery.
When speaking with your doctor about your upcoming surgery, ask them which technique they recommend. In certain cases, an ophthalmologist won’t choose laser cataract surgery as it may not be compatible with the patient’s anatomy.
Another detail to discuss with your doctor is the type of lens that will be used in the surgery. Multifocal intraocular implants are a popular option. This type of lens implant is designed for high-quality intermediate vision, near vision, and distant vision. Ultimately, ophthalmologists hope to provide their clients with glasses-free vision after their surgery, but this isn’t guaranteed.
After cataract surgery, you may feel ready to resume regular activities. However, your eye doctor may warn you about inflammation and potential infections. Doctors typically prescribe eye drops and pain relievers for recovery after surgery. In addition to these options, some ophthalmologists recommend steroids.
When it comes to cataract surgery, corticoid steroids are a popular choice for controlling ocular inflammation. Many ophthalmologists choose to use steroids as fast-acting anti-inflammatories after surgery. Be sure to speak with your doctor about using ocular steroids as a treatment for cataract surgery. Working with your ophthalmologist, you can choose a steroid that is effective for you.
How to Prepare
As you consider cataract surgery, make sure to ask your ophthalmologist what preparations you should make. Before cataract surgery, doctors recommend that patients make arrangements with their friends or family prior to cataract surgery. As your eyesight will be compromised following surgery, it’s best to have plans for a ride home once the surgery is over.
In addition to getting home from the ophthalmologist, you’ll need to prepare for the recovery period. Experts recommend a 48-hour recovery period to rest your eyes after cataract surgery. In the event that you live alone, now is the time to plan ahead and ask someone to help.
Knowing what to expect before you schedule your cataract surgery will help you make the best decisions for your health. Keep this information in mind as you follow up with your ophthalmologist about cataract surgery.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.
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June 10, 2020
By Brooke Chaplan
If you are helping your elderly family find a new place to live, you may want to consider a senior-friendly apartment complex. This way, you know they are moving into a place designed with their comfort, convenience and safety in mind. Use the following tips to find a senior-friendly apartment complex for your elderly family.
Narrow Your Search
The first thing you want to do is narrow down your search to your criteria. You want to look into communities that are specifically designed for seniors rather than a standard apartment community. It is also important to consider the age range of your elderly family. There are some places that only allow seniors over the age of 55 years old or 62 years old to move into the community.
Independent or Assisted Living
You also want to decide if you are looking for an independent or assisted living community for your elderly family. If your seniors can take care of their daily tasks and activities, they may be happier in an independent living community. However, your seniors may need an assisted living community if they cannot handle tasks such as bathing, grooming and dressing on their own.
Research the Amenities
If you are looking for luxury apartments for rent for your elderly family, you want to check out the amenities of the apartments and overall community. The apartment amenities may include large walk-in showers, temperature control and safety features. Your seniors may also have access to a community lounge, dining room and recreational activities. There are also communities that offer housekeeping, transportation and emergency staff.
Read the Reviews
You can also determine if a senior-friendly community is a good fit for your family by reading the reviews on apartment websites. Residents and their loved ones are not going to hesitate to share their positive and negative experiences. If a community has more negative reviews than positive reviews, you want to cross that community off your list.
Schedule A Tour
Once you find a senior-friendly community that fits your criteria, contact the staff to set up a tour. The pictures and information on the website may not do the community any justice, and an in-person tour of the community gives your elderly family a glimpse of their possible home. You may even be able to decide on the spot if it is a good community for your loved ones.
If you take the time to find a senior-friendly apartment complex that fits your criteria, you are sure to find a community that is perfect for your elderly family.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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June 3, 2020
Older Posts »
By Anica Oaks
If you are reaching your older years or know someone who’s a senior, it’s especially important to know about the risks of stroke. These risks increase as people get older, and learning how to recognize certain signs will make it possible for you to take quicker action that may be lifesaving. Here are four important things for every aging senior to know about stroke.
Certain Factors Increase Stroke Risk
In addition to aging, there are certain factors that could increase a senior’s chances of having a stroke. Being overweight is unhealthy at any age, but seniors should be especially diligent about maintaining a healthy weight to try to avoid a stroke. Smoking and eating high-sodium foods that increase blood pressure can also raise a senior’s risk of having a stroke. Having obstructive sleep apnea, which is sometimes more common in seniors and can interfere with breathing while trying to sleep, can further increase stroke risk.
Severe Disability Can Result
People who suffer from strokes are often left with major disabilities that make managing everyday life more difficult. Experiencing a stroke may affect your ability to walk, talk and eat without assistance. A stroke can also cause cognitive effects such as difficulty remembering or rationalizing certain thoughts or emotions. A locum tenens stroke doctor in your area can work with you or a loved one who’s suffered a stroke to try to lessen some of the debilitating effects.
Mini-strokes Can Happen
Not all strokes cause major symptoms or need medical attention right away. Also known as a transient ischemic attack (ITA), a mini-stroke occurs when blood flow to a certain part of the brain is obstructed for a short period. Even though not all mini-strokes are immediate cause for concern, they could be signs that a major stroke will occur in the future. Some of the most common signs of a mini-stroke include sudden headaches, dizziness and partial weakness or numbness.
Family History Often Plays a Role
If any of your family members had a stroke, there could be a genetic factor that will increase your chances of having one as well. This is often especially true if any family member had a stroke at a younger age. It’s important to research the medical histories of parents, grandparents and any siblings to determine if the problem runs in your family.
One of the best ways to ensure better health as a senior is to learn about the risks of having a stroke. Knowing these risks will help you take the appropriate measures to keep yourself and any other seniors in your life safer.
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