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National Stroke Week — which runs from 8-14 August 2022 — offers an opportunity to raise awareness of stroke, what we can do to minimise our risk of stroke and what to do if someone has experienced one.
In 2020, 27,428 Australians experienced stroke for the first time in their lives, and more than 445,087 Australians are living with the effects of stroke, which is a leading cause of disability in the country.
What is a stroke?
Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, depriving brain cells of oxygen, and potentially causing permanent damage. The parts of the brain affected by that deprivation, and how long the oxygen supply is interrupted, will determine the impact stroke has on a person’s cognition, speech and movement.
A stroke can be of two types:
- Ischaemic (caused by a blood clot)
- Haemorrhagic (caused by a break in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain)
Unfortunately, there is no predictable timeline for recovery and anyone can experience a stroke, regardless of their age. Recovery depends on the severity of the stroke, the areas of the brain affected, and the speed of access to treatment and rehabilitation.
Signs of stroke
How can you tell if someone is experiencing a stroke? The Stroke Foundation recommends using the F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) test.
- Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
- Arms – Can they lift both arms?
- Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
- Time – Is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.
Changes after a stroke
A stroke affects everyone differently. However, a stroke can cause physical changes (such as fatigue or paralysis on one side of the body), emotional changes (such as depression or anxiety), behavioural changes (irritability, apathy) and cognitive changes (difficulty in focussing on tasks or communicating).
As such, it can create challenges for the person to perform everyday tasks and activities, such as driving, work, managing administrative or financial matters, exercise, cooking and cleaning, dressing, etc.
More than 4 in 5 strokes are preventable – with the right lifestyle choices. A healthy diet, regular exercise (Australia’s Stroke Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week), and the avoidance of cigarettes and excessive alcohol, can help prevent clogged arteries, high cholesterol, high blood-pressure and, ultimately, prevent stroke.
How Mable can support with stroke
Independent Support Workers on Mable are experienced in providing different support services, such as personal care, social support and domestic assistance, nursing care, support with being physically active and exercising, and much more, to support you to live independently in your home.
Social Support and Domestic Assistance support:
- Meal preparation
- Cleaning, laundry, ironing
- Assistance with shopping
- Light housework
- Light gardening
- Basic home maintenance
- Showering, dressing, grooming
- Manual transfer
- Assistance with medication
- Care assessment, planning and coordination
- Medication management
- Continence management
- Bowel and bladder management
- Case management
- Respite support
Find and book an independent support worker through Mable today. With the right support, it’s possible to continue to live a full and happy life.