When it comes to strokes, there is a pervasive thought that these brain events will always announce their presence. This can probably be traced to the traditional Hollywood depiction: when someone undergoes a stroke on the screen, the signs are always clear, loud, and apparent. The protagonist yelps in a crowded area, they dramatically fall to the ground, and are quickly diagnosed and ushered to the hospital.
In reality, strokes can be much subtler than this depiction. Sometimes they do not announce themselves loudly, but they do so silently and with context clues.
For experienced home health aide and caregivers, they are familiar with the silent signs of a stroke. Through familiarizing themselves with these signs, caregivers can provide better proactive care for a loved one undergoing symptoms of a stroke.
1. Sudden Issues with Cognitive Ability
If an individual has an abrupt loss of cognitive ability or skill, there could be something more pervasive occurring within their brain. To check for a stroke, caregivers should ask the individual to do a simple cognitive test, such as saying their name or reciting the alphabet.
2. Memory Loss
In some cases, strokes can announce themselves through a slight loss of memory. Keep in mind that this symptom varies based on the area of the brain affected, and will differ for each person. Stroke induced memory loss can cause confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, and an inability to organize thoughts or pay attention.
3. A Sudden Lack of Balance
When strokes happen, it can cause a significant lack of balance. Be on the lookout if your loved one begins unsteadily swaying, tethering to nearby objects, or suffers a seemingly unprovoked fall.
4. Loss of basic muscle movement, including bladder
Another silent sign of a stroke is the loss of basic motor function, including bladder control. Elderly individuals who have sudden lapses in muscle movement could be experiencing malfunctions in their nervous system.
5. Abrupt shifts in personality or mood
If your loved one has seemingly turned into a new person within a moment’s notice, this could be another silent signal of stroke. Individuals with sudden drastic changes in mood or personality are displaying a sign that something has gone awry within their brain chemistry. A stroke could be depriving the prefrontal cortex of oxygen, causing major dysregulation within emotional equilibrium.