6 Keys to the Best Possible Stroke Recovery

(Family Features) Strokes change more than 795,000 lives in the United States each year.

In fact, according to the American Stroke Association, brain blockages or bleeds are one of the most common causes of disability and the fifth-leading cause of death. Starting the right rehabilitation program as soon as possible may help survivors recover better. One patient’s rehab journey might include balance, strength or mobility, while another might need speech or other therapies.

stroke rehabilitation

“The residual impact of a stroke can vary widely between patients in terms of deficits and severity,” said Pamela Duncan, Ph.D., F.A.H.A., American Stroke Association volunteer and professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Health. “A rehabilitation program designed for you, where you need it, whether at a hospital or at home, is critical.”

For example, Jessica Alfonso was just 33 when she suffered a stroke. She credits her husband, Pablo, with saving her life – not just through the quick thinking that ensured her prompt medical care, but for being her voice as she worked to regain her ability to speak, read, walk and eat independently.

“He was with me for six weeks of inpatient rehabilitation,” Alfonso said. “Encouraging me and helping me communicate with my team while I re-learned everything. Without him, I may not have survived my stroke and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today.”

The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke(tm) initiative, nationally sponsored by Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services, provides tips and resources for stroke survivors and their caregivers such as:

* Ask your doctor for an assessment of physical and cognitive challenges you face after a stroke and a specific plan to address each challenge.

* Work with your doctor to create a plan to manage risk factors to prevent another stroke. This may include being physically active, not smoking and managing your blood pressure.

* While recovery can occur years after a stroke, the most rapid recovery typically occurs during the first three months. As soon as your medical team gives the “all clear,” start your personalized rehabilitation program right away.

* It is recommended by American Heart Association guidelines that patients who can tolerate and are eligible for rehab at an inpatient rehabilitation facility receive it. However, rehabilitation can happen anywhere from a formal rehabilitation facility to the comfort of your home. Ask your medical team for recommendations on the best local rehab options to maximize recovery.

* Talk with your health care provider about any financial constraints, such as ability to pay for medications, so a plan can be developed to identify alternative community resources.

* Communicate and follow up regularly with a team of health care providers as some challenges – such as remembering medications – may not be immediately clear.

“For many survivors, your functional state prior to the stroke plays a big role in how you recover,” Duncan said. “Working with your team of loved ones and health care providers to find and stick with the best rehabilitation program for you is key.”

For more information about recovery and how to make informed decisions after a stroke, visit stroke.org/recovery.
Source: American Heart Association

Ways to Make the World a Better Place for Seniors

(Family Features) By 2050, the senior population (adults age 65 and older) will be more than double that of the world’s youngest citizens, and the number of people living beyond age 80 is expected to triple over the next 30 years.

As the aging population increases, some 11.3 million seniors are living alone, according to the Institute on Aging. In addition, women are twice as likely as older men to live by themselves.

Seniors can experience a broad variety of problems without adequate assistance, including restricted mobility, chronic circumstances, unsuitable nutrition, and loneliness emotions. Older adults, for instance, may have chewing issues or take medicines that interfere with their appetites. The greatest challenge, however, study demonstrates absence of companionship.

In fact, an AARP survey found 1 in 5 adults over the age of 40 were “socially disconnected,” which can impact health. People who reportedly experienced loneliness and isolation had lower mental well-being scores, and those who were dissatisfied with their level of social engagement were more likely to report a decline in cognitive function, as well.

While anyone can benefit from a kind gesture, seniors are some of the most in-need members in many communities. There is likely a wide range of opportunities to enhance the lives of seniors in your area. Numerous programs and agencies exist to help you determine the best way to make a difference.

One example is Ready to Care, an initiative from Home Instead Senior Care that challenges people to complete weekly care missions. Each activity guides members through various ways to give to senior-related causes, learn about the aging crisis and issues impacting seniors, and serve seniors through small actions of kindness.

Most care missions are simple acts, such as opening a door, learning about Alzheimer’s or helping with a chore. Each week, a new mission is delivered to participants’ phones via text message.

Small gestures, like these simple acts of kindness, can go a long way toward improving a senior’s day.

Physical assistance: Most seniors are eager to retain their independence, but everyday tasks can pose fall risks or require exposure to harsh weather conditions that can be dangerous to older adults.

* Offer to bring in the daily newspaper or mail.
* Mow their lawn or offer to help with other yardwork.
* Lend a hand in caring for pets, such as taking a dog for a walk or helping clean up waste from the yard.
* Offer moral support and a sense of physical safety by volunteering to join them on a walk.

Social support: Loneliness is common among seniors, especially those who live alone. Show seniors in your area they have a meaningful place in the community and options for companionship.

* Offer a friendly wave and say hello when you see them out.
* Invite them to dinner, either at your home or at a restaurant.
* Have your children or kids you know in the area draw pictures or write letters.
* Make a date for an afternoon or evening of entertainment, such as cards, a movie or board games.

Practical solutions: For various reasons, some seniors may be unable to complete everyday tasks. Offer a helping hand in their daily routines when possible.

* Lend your time to take them to run errands.
* Deliver baked goods or a home-cooked meal to improve access to nourishing foods.
* Help arrange for professional assistance and services, such as an audit to ensure homes are safe.

To find more ways you can care for the seniors in your community, visit imreadytocare.com.

How You Can Help

Consider these simple ways you can help the aging population by taking action and learning about issues impacting seniors:

* Lend your voice. Be an advocate for change in public actions and medical research for the aging society. If you’re an expert by experience, share your knowledge about senior-related issues and public policy measures.

* Give from your heart. Less than 1% of charitable donations go to organizations that help seniors. Find senior-focused non-profits to give your next charitable donations to, such as one dedicated to raising awareness, inspiring change and accelerating progress in Alzheimer’s care and research.

* Get prepared to care. Educate yourself on issues that impact seniors and complete small acts of kindness for seniors in your life. Sign up for weekly care missions and find additional information to better equip yourself to care for seniors at imreadytocare.com.

* Give your time. Volunteer with local non-profit organizations that help seniors or offer support related to senior-affiliated issues.

Source: Home Instead Senior Care

How Older Americans Can Benefit From Chiropractic Care

(NewsUSA)It’s not just you.

As a nation, America is getting older – with another 10,000 Boomers turning 65 every day. And whether you like to admit it or not – and who does? – odds are you’re probably already experiencing at least some of the same nagging health issues you once thought only happened to your parents.

What’s also likely, assuming you’re one of the nation’s 100 million chronic pain sufferers, is that you’re seeking a safer alternative to opioids after being scared off by news headlines of people becoming addicted and even dying from them. Read on to see if drug-free chiropractic care may be right for what ails you.

* Back and neck pain. It’s the primary reason older Americans visit doctors of chiropractic every year. And as Dr. Phillip Pizzo of Stanford University’s School of Medicine has said, “We see that for many patients, chronic pain becomes a disease in its own right.”

Blame the aging process itself for why even the most active seniors – weekend athletes, say – aren’t immune from such pain: Our muscles, spinal discs, facet joints and ligaments simply become less hydrated, weaker, and less able to withstand normal stresses. Doctors of chiropractic, who are highly educated and trained in the structure and function of the human body, can help provide relief through hands-on techniques that enhance flexibility, muscle strength, and range of motion.

* Osteoarthritic pain and dysfunction. Knees or hips acting up? As with back and neck pain, doctors of chiropractic can also outline a program of exercise – monitoring your progress along the way – aimed at rehabilitating and strengthening specific muscle groups.

* Overall wellness. This, it’s been said, is “the wheelhouse of a chiropractor.” Exercise. Nutrition. Alignment. Posture. He or she can advise you on all those and more.

“Doctors of chiropractic are dedicated to helping patients get the best outcome from their body,” said the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ Sherry McAllister, DC.

For more info, visit f4cp.com/findadoctor.