What Happens in a Person’s Brain After a Stroke?

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A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked or bursts, which stops blood flow to critical parts of the brain responsible for regulating thoughts and actions. During a mild stroke, your senior loved one may demonstrate symptoms such as weakness on the side of the body associated with the part of the brain that’s affected. A severe stroke could cause your loved one to lose consciousness completely. Once your loved one is stabilized, the process of recovery begins. Understanding what happens in the brain following a stroke can help you make sense out of the next stages of recovery.

The Cells Stop Receiving Oxygen

People often compare strokes to heart attacks, since they’re similar regarding what happens when blood flow stops in a certain part of the body. In the brain, stalled blood flow means oxygen is no longer getting to critical cells responsible for cognitive functioning. Going without oxygen for even a few minutes can cause cells to die, which is why prompt medical attention is crucial for recovery. If your loved one receives medical care within minutes after the stroke, he or she is more likely to avoid long-term and debilitating symptoms in the future.

Fluid Sometimes Builds Up in the Tissues

A stroke can sometimes cause cerebrospinal fluid to build up in the brain. When this happens, additional pressure is placed on the brain that can cause your loved one to develop more extreme symptoms. In this case, your loved one may temporarily seem to get worse than the day before and exhibit symptoms such as severe headaches, blurred vision, and greater challenges with thinking abilities. Fluid on the brain may be released through surgical methods if it’s necessary to relieve the pressure.

The effects of a stroke can make it difficult for seniors to live at home safely without a caregiver close by at all times. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Des Moines live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.

Communication Among Body Systems Is Disrupted

The death of brain cells leads to a breakdown in communication between the brain and the rest of the body, which can result in challenges such as the loss of the ability to speak properly and mobility issues such as foot drop. This portion of your loved one’s recovery may be frustrating as he or she begins to realize there’s a long way to go before feeling normal again. You can help by continuing to offer encouragement for your loved one’s efforts at therapy and reminding your parent that he or she can continue to strengthen these abilities.

Stroke survivors who recover at home often need help with the everyday tasks of life. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Des Moines homecare services agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

The Brain Begins to Rebuild 

As dire as these effects may seem, it’s also heartening to know the brain begins the process of recovery soon after a stroke. This process can continue for up to two to three years, which means your loved one has the opportunity to help his or her brain rebuild well into the future. At this point, your role is to help your loved one prevent another stroke or brain injury from occurring. Make a plan to focus on helping your loved one make changes that boost his or her wellbeing, such as eating a healthier diet and learning to accept assistance with tasks that place him or her at risk for falling. 

Senior stroke survivors often need very specialized assistance from caregivers who have experience in providing support during stroke recovery. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elderly home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (515) 264-2438 today.

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