Uncle Ben had just ended his daily evening tea session with his friends at the neighbourhood coffeeshop. As he stood up to leave and bid his friends goodbye, he realised that his vision was blurry, his speech became slurred and his entire body seemed to be drooping to one side. He stumbled while trying to take a step forward, lost his balance, and collapsed on the ground. Uncle Ben had suffered a stroke.
The incidence of stroke increases with age, making the elderly most susceptible to the potentially crippling disease. According to a paper published in 2018 by Singapore General Hospital, 50% of all strokes occurred in people over age 75 and 30% over age 85. Stroke is among the top leading causes of disability and reduced quality of life, and elderly patients are at higher risk of mortality, poorer functional outcomes such as impaired mobility and cognitive function, and institutionalisation.
However, it is possible for seniors to bounce back from a stroke and continue leading happy and dignified lives. The key to that is early stroke detection and timely access to treatment. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the stroke treatments that work best are available only if the stroke is recognised and diagnosed within three hours of the first symptoms.
Hence, while it is important for the elderly to maintain a healthy lifestyle in their golden years, it is also important for them and those living with them to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
TOUCH Senior Activity Centre shares some ways you can identify a stroke before it is too late.
If you witness someone having a stroke, do the following:
- Call 995 immediately
- Note the time the symptoms started so you can inform the paramedics of it.
- Check to see if they are breathing. If they’re not, perform CPR immediately until the paramedics arrive.
- If possible, position them so that they are lying on one side with their head slightly raised and supported in case they vomit.
- If they experienced a mini stroke and the symptoms have gone away, ensure that they still receive immediate medical attention.
- Do not give them any medication or anything to eat or drink as a stroke may impede their ability to swallow. The doctors will determine what type of medication is appropriate for the patient depending on the type of stroke which can only be determined by a CAT scan.
Remember, when it comes to stroke, every minute counts. Knowing the signs of a stroke and what to do can save lives.
TOUCH Senior Activity Centre (TSAC) aims to function as a community activation node, where seniors come together to stay active and healthy, be socially connected, learn new skills and contribute as volunteers. Besides social and recreational activities, TSAC also extends help to seniors who have become frail and homebound so they may live their golden years with dignity within the community. Want to join us as a member or volunteer with TSAC to enrich the lives of seniors? Get in touch with us at [email protected].