tatistics suggest more than 790,000 people in the United States have strokes each year. The recovery process begins once hospital care teams stabilize the individuals. Regaining impaired abilities after a stroke may take months or years. However, there are remedies individuals can implement to hasten the process.
1. Make Dietary Alterations
Healthcare providers typically recommend stroke survivors adopt a healthier diet. High-fat meals lead to elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which in turn lead to hypertension and the risk of a second stroke. Many seniors are also sensitive to salt, which causes fluid retention and subsequent stress on the cardiovascular system. Meals should consist of lean meats and fish along with an increase in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains.
2. Add BDNF-Boosting Foods
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, refers to a protein that encourages the development and growth of new neurons and communication pathways between the cells. This rebuilding process is known as neuroplasticity. The brain is more susceptible to rebuilding itself following a stroke. By promoting neuroplasticity with BDNF-rich foods, seniors are more likely to overcome impairments faster. BDNF-boosting foods include:
• Anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines
• Dark chocolate
• Green tea
• Olive oil
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Centennial Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
3. Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake
These fatty acids protect delicate brain tissue while promoting the restoration of white matter in the brain. In addition to encouraging neuroplasticity, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and interfere with free radicals that cause cellular damage. Thus, seniors should consider adding foods rich in these compounds to their diets. The list includes:
• Flax seeds
• Olive oil
• Shrimp and salmon
If you need help planning and preparing meals designed to boost your loved one’s stroke recovery, a professional caregiver can be a terrific resource. Families looking for top-rated homecare providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
4. Consume More Garlic
The chemical compounds in garlic are known to alleviate inflammation and reduce blood lipid levels, which stabilizes blood pressure. Consuming one to two garlic cloves daily reduces triglyceride levels 13 to 25 percent. However, garlic also inhibits the blood’s ability to clot, which may be detrimental to stroke survivors who are taking anticoagulant medications.
5. Get a Massage
Gentle massage has been shown to alleviate depression, reduce blood pressure, and relax tight muscles. When impaired limbs undergo massage therapy, blood circulation increases, which nourishes the muscles, connective tissues, and nerves to hasten recovery.
6. Use a Mirror
Mirror therapy has proven to be especially helpful when trying to regain the function of hands affected by a stroke. The technique requires putting a mirror on a table between the two hands, with the reflective side facing the unimpaired limb. By performing exercises with the unaffected hand and arm, the brain is tricked into believing no impairment exists, which hastens neuroplasticity.
7. Keep Exercising
Routine exercise is necessary to encourage the return of function in affected limbs. Stroke survivors often become frustrated when hitting a plateau, but continued effort breaks through the barrier, which eventually leads to progress. By not giving up, some stroke survivors experience dramatic improvements years later.
Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Centennial, CO, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. If you need professional home care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (303) 957-3100.