Owners' Blog

Learn the Signs of Stroke F.A.S.T.

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

During a stroke, a person’s brain doesn’t get enough blood. To reduce the amount of damage done to the brain during a stroke, it’s important to act quickly to get help. According to the National Stroke Association, the for every minute that passes before a stroke is treated, 1.9 million neurons are lost. Depending on which parts of the brain are affected, the stroke victim could lose the use of an arm or leg. Or, their speech or memory could be affected. To minimize damage, it’s important for family caregivers to be able to recognize the signs of a stroke quickly.


Experts recommend using the acronym F.A.S.T. to help you remember and recognize the signs of a stroke. F.A.S.T. stands for:

F: Facial drooping or numbness. If you’re not sure, ask the person to smile and see if their smile is even.

A: Arm weakness or numbness. Instruct the senior to lift both of their arms. If one of their arms droops or drifts downward, it’s a sign of stroke.

S: Speech problems. Ask the person to repeat a short sentence and listen for slurred speech or speech that is difficult to understand.

T: Time to get help. If the older adult shows any of the above signs, call 911 immediately.

Why You Shouldn’t Drive to the Hospital

You might think it will be quicker for you to put your aging family member in the car and drive them to the hospital yourself, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you don’t. When you call 911, the emergency workers can assess the situation quickly and begin treatment on the way to the hospital. In some areas, the patient may be taken to a specialized stroke center for faster treatment.

Other Symptoms That May Occur

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association note that there are other symptoms that may occur along with the F.A.S.T. signs. These symptoms will all occur suddenly. Some other symptoms of stroke are:

  • Confusion.
  • Trouble understanding the speech of others.
  • Difficulty seeing from one eye or from both.
  • A sudden and serious headache.
  • Trouble with balance or walking.
  • Dizziness.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Weakness on one side of the body, such as in the leg, arm, or face.

If your senior family member has been affected by a stroke, bringing in a home care provider can help them to live more comfortably at home. Caregivers can help them move safely around the house, dress, eat, toilet, and bathe. They can also help with tasks around the house, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Duluth, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.