Mini Stroke Symptoms in Older Adults (And Why They Happen)

When you hear “stroke,” you probably imagine someone grabbing their chest and falling to the floor. But did you know that it’s possible to have a stroke and not even know it? It’s estimated that 1 in 3 American adults have experienced what is known as a “mini-stroke.” Sometimes the individual will experience slight symptoms; other times, the individual may experience no symptoms at all.

Mini strokes are very common among senior adults, but they often are misdiagnosed as another issue or disease. If you have an elderly loved one, it’s important to know the warning signs and symptoms of mini-strokes so they can take swift action if they occur.

What is a mini-stroke?

A mini-stroke is a colloquial term for a transient ischemic attack (TIA). These types of attacks are characterized by temporary stroke-like symptoms such as numbness in the face, arms, or legs; difficulty speaking or understanding speech; trouble with balance or coordination; double vision; and dizziness. They’re caused by a brief blockage of blood vessels in the brain, retina or spinal cord.

What Causes Mini Strokes?

There are several different factors that can contribute to a mini-stroke. The most common is when the blood supply to the brain cells is blocked due to blood clots or an underlying health issue. Mini strokes can also be caused by heart disease, vascular disease, or thickened blood disorders.

What’s the difference between a mini-stroke and a stroke?

Unlike an actual stroke, mini-strokes don’t damage brain cells or cause permanent disability. The symptoms also only last up to 24 hours. However, a mini-stroke is often an early warning sign that a person will have a full-on stroke, which is why it’s important to take immediate action. You also aren’t able to tell if your loved one is experiencing a mini-stroke or a stroke until after the event – another reason why immediate action is so important.

What is a “silent stroke”?

A silent stroke is a form of mini-stroke where an individual experiences a stroke without realizing it. This type of stroke is usually discovered via an MRI, usually as a treatment for another condition.

What are the risk factors of mini-strokes for seniors?
As with many other health conditions, seniors have a higher risk of having mini-strokes. Beyond age, however, there are several other manageable risk factors.

  • Hypertension. Having high blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for both strokes and mini-strokes.
  • High cholesterol. Having high cholesterol increases your risk of developing blood clots, which leads to mini-strokes.
  • Obesity. Carrying too much weight on your frame increases your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, all factors that can increase your risk of strokes.
  • Smoking. Smoking causes cardiovascular damage, which can lead to an increased risk of mini-strokes.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes causes issues with blood flow and can increase your risk for a mini-stroke.
  • An inactive lifestyle. Individuals who are inactive have a significant increase in the risk of many health problems, including mini-strokes.

How can “FAST” help determine whether or not someone is suffering from a mini-stroke or stroke?

The acronym FAST – Face, Arms, Speech, Time – can help you determine if your loved one is having an attack and requires medical attention.

  • Face – ask the individual to smile. If one side of the smile droops, that’s a warning sign.
  • Arms — ask the person to lift both arms. If an arm on one side of the body is hard to move or drifts downward, that’s also a warning sign.
  • Speech — ask your loved one to repeat a simple phrase like “Today is Tuesday.” If they have difficulty understanding or if their speech is slurred or unusual, this is a warning sign.
  • Time — If someone is exhibiting any of these warning signs, time is of the essence. It’s time to call 911 or take them to the ER to have them evaluated ASAP.

How can I decrease my or my loved one’s risk of having a mini-stroke?

Eat a healthy diet.

Getting proper nutrition is one of the best tools for controlling blood pressure, weight, and overall health. You probably have heard about the different types of foods that you can choose that will help reduce your risk of developing a stroke. No surprise, these foods can also help avoid mini-strokes. Here are some healthy choices to integrate into your diet.

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain options
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Nuts and legumes
  • Poultry and fish
  • Healthy fats

Stay physically active.

Physically inactive individuals have a much higher risk of having a stroke than those who exercise for at least 10 minutes a day. Exercising helps stimulate the cardiovascular system, keeps arteries and blood vessels healthy, and helps you stay at a healthy weight. It’s important to remember that staying physically active doesn’t mean running a marathon – even light housework can add up to increased health benefits.

Reduce stress levels.

Stress can raise your heart rate and blood pressure and releases cortisol into your bloodstream. This causes your body to go into fight-or-flight mode, which isn’t good for your health. People who experience chronic stress can also suffer from depression, mood swings, and physical ailments. Managing your stress through counseling, relaxation techniques, or meditation can significantly reduce your risk of strokes and mini-strokes.

A Healthy Lifestyle at Waterstone at Wellesley Will Do Your Heart Good. 

We’re devoted to a healthy lifestyle at Waterstone at Wellesley. Every aspect of our luxurious senior living community has been designed to help our residents live well, be well and stay well – mind, body, and soul. Beyond exceptional independent living options, we also offer assisted living for individuals who need a little extra help to live the lifestyle they deserve.

Call us today at 781.304.8169 to schedule a visit and see how the Wellesley lifestyle can benefit you or a loved one.

From historical sites and buildings to cultural events, seasonal fun, and more, there’s so much to enjoy in Lexington. Below are some of the top activities for seniors in Lexington, Massachusetts.

historical building in Lexington, Massachusetts

1. Visit Historical Sites

Our area is rich in history. Take a step back in time, from guided tours to historical sites and more.

  • Tour the Battle Green
  • Explore the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library National Heritage Museum
  • Visit the U.S.S. Lexington Memorial
  • See the Minuteman Statue
  • Tour The Old Burying Ground
  • Visit The Belfry
  • Learn about the history of our area at The Depot or the Lexington Visitors Center
  • Visit Minute Man National Historical Park
  • Take a Liberty Ride Trolly Tour with a narrated tour through the history of Lexington and Concord

2. Tour the Gardens at Elm Bank

Run by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the Gardens at Elm Bank combines beauty, contemplation, exploration, history, and more. This is a perfect way to spend a day featuring classes and programs, natural beauty, and opportunities to learn.

3. Enjoy the Symphony

Lexington has a wonderful symphony right in its own backyard. With various shows, events depending on the season, and various educational programs, this is a great way to get involved in the community, enjoy the arts and support our local musicians.

4. Tour Historical Buildings

Visit various pre-Revolutionary war buildings, including:

  • The Buckman Tavern, the oldest tavern in Lexington
  • The Hancock-Clarke House, which was the destination of Paul Revere and William Dawes the night they rode to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock about the British soldiers coming
  • The Munroe Tavern, where President Washington dined in 1789

5. Visit the Farmers Market

Open through October 31, the farmers market provides opportunities for visitors, friends, and families.

  • Purchase fresh fruit and vegetables while supporting local farms and vendors
  • Buy meat, cheese, eggs, and other specialty foods to take home and cook
  • Enjoy various bread and baked goods with friends and family
  • Pick up the perfect gift for a loved one at the Artisans’ Tent
  • Enjoy entertainment with grandkids

6. Take a Fall Foliage Tour

When Autumn arrives, our beautiful area comes alive with red, orange, and yellow foliage. A destination for many fall lovers, you’re sure to find a plethora of things to do and fall events to enjoy.

7. Enjoy Nature with Walking Paths and Bike Trails

Whether you love to walk, ride your bike, jog, or simply enjoy the beauty nature holds, there are a variety of paths that can accomplish your goals. Check them out by clicking the link above and get inspired to get outdoors.

8. Attend Fall Festivals

The change of seasons doesn’t mean a decrease in fun. Lexington offers a range of festivals and cultural events for the whole community to enjoy. Be sure to check out the 30th Annual Fine Arts and Crafts Festival.

9. Explore the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society

Speaking of arts and crafts, the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society is a great way to explore your talents, embrace your passions and really enjoy the art that others create. Consider taking a class, viewing an exhibit, or even volunteering.

10. Catch a Movie at Lexington Venue

Featuring a movie theater upstairs, you can view the latest films or rent the theater out for private showings, events, and gaming.

11. Spend Time at Waterstone of Lexington

Although there’s so much to do around town in Lexington, there’s even more within our community. Residents in our community enjoy the following:

  • Working out in our indoor heated pool and fitness staffed with Train Boston® fitness and aquatic instructors
  • Savoring delicious dining events
  • Exploring nature on our outdoor walking paths
  • Pampering in our full-service salon
  • Catching a movie in our theater
  • Using our putting green
  • Gathering with friends around our firepit
  • Gardening in our raised vegetable and herb garden
  • Attending regularly scheduled cultural, social and recreational programs and educational seminars
  • Taking in a new read in the library or at a book club
  • Playing games with friends
exterior image of waterstone at lexington

Come Explore and Experience Our Lifestyle

At Waterstone of Lexington, there’s always something new and fun to do. Schedule a tour and see for yourself! Call us today at 781.996.0601.

Last month, we shared the best healthy foods for your heart. As an active older adult, you may find yourself wondering about the best foods that will provide you with an extra boost of energy.

Maintaining your energy levels as you age will help you keep your physical and mental health in peak condition. So if you’re an older adult finding yourself nodding off while you watch TV or feeling a lot more tired than you did several years ago, you may need to start looking at what you’re putting into your body.

Eating the right types of food will help increase your energy levels, build your endurance, and allow you to continue doing the things you enjoy. As a bonus, most of the energy-boosting foods found below also are excellent at keeping your heart healthy, maintaining your blood sugar levels, increasing muscle and bone strength, and boosting your immune systems.

We’ve put together a list of seven foods that provide seniors with a much-needed energy boost, along with a variety of additional health benefits. You’ll notice that the list includes lean proteins, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and other foods that provide vitamins and minerals while helping maintain energy throughout the day.

1. Nuts

Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews and pecans are chock-full of healthy fats, proteins and amino acids that strengthen and rebuild muscles. The fiber and carbohydrates found in nuts are digested more slowly than what you find in refined grains, which helps provide a steady supply of energy throughout the day.

            Add more nuts to your diet by topping your salad with nuts instead of croutons, adding a handful to your morning oatmeal, and choosing roasted nuts over potato chips or other empty-calorie snacks.

2. Whole Grains

Skip the white bread and all-purpose flour and choose whole grains like quinoa, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and barley for a high-fiber hit that provides energy throughout the day, helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar, and keeps you regular. Some grains are also filled with protein, which is instrumental in maintaining muscle mass (which helps with balance, bone health and overall mobility).

            Add more whole grains to your diet by choosing whole-grain bread over white, eating oatmeal for breakfast, and trying new side dishes like quinoa salad instead of a regular lettuce salad or coleslaw.

berries give your body natural sugars which translate to energy

3. Berries

Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants and fiber, making them a great sweet treat that provides a slew of health benefits. Enjoy them fresh for an extra hydration hit, or snack on dried ones (in moderate amounts) for an energy boost or a delicious addition to salads, breads and desserts.

Add more berries to your diet by tossing some into a breakfast smoothie, sprinkling some on a salad, enjoying a high-energy snack of trail mix, or savoring a light dessert of berries and dark chocolate.

4. Fish

Oily, cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines are excellent lean proteins that help your heart (thanks to their omega-3 fatty acids), improve joint function, prevent cognitive decline and – you guessed it – boost energy.

Add more fish to your diet by adding salmon to your salad, enjoying a tuna fish sandwich, or choosing a tuna steak instead of a T-bone.

4. Low-fat dairy

Low-fat dairy options provide protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins like B12, without the added calories that come from full-fat versions. Unsweetened and Greek yogurt can add oomph to your salad dressing, soups and side dishes without sacrificing taste, and cheese makes pretty much any dish sing!

            Add more low-fat dairy to your diet by using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise, shred some cheese onto a salad or in your soup, and sip a glass of milk for a midday pick-me-up.

5. Fruits and vegetables

We’ve already mentioned berries, but fruits and vegetables overall are excellent choices for filling your plate (and your stomach) with delicious tastes and energy boosters. Even “sugary” fruits like bananas and grapes provide nutritional boosts such as potassium, vitamin C and fiber. While there are some “smarter” choices such as sweet potatoes; lower sugar fruits; and dark, leafy greens, you really can’t go wrong by choosing these foods as a snack.

            Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet by snacking on an apple or banana, adding a vegetable side dish to dinner, or enjoying a whole orange instead of drinking a glass of orange juice.

6. Beans and lentils

Bean, lentils and legumes are a great source of non-animal protein as well as vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc and fiber. They provide a steady boost of energy as your body digests the complex carbohydrates, keeping you energized longer.

            Add more beans and legumes to your diet by adding them to your salads and soups, tossing them into an egg dish for breakfast, and serving them as a side with fish or chicken.

senior man drinking water on a run outside

7. Water

Water is a liquid, not a food, but it is essential for helping you boost your energy, stay healthy, and build your strength. Staying hydrated helps muscles function properly, keeps your joints healthy, improves your digestion, and so much more. Plus, as an active adult, it’s even more essential to stay hydrated, because seniors become dehydrated much more quickly than their younger counterparts.

Add more water to your diet by choosing sparkling water over soda, sipping on herbal tea instead of coffee, and choosing fruits and vegetables high in liquids.

Fuel your healthy, active senior lifestyle at Waterstone on High Ridge

Aging well and staying active has never been easier. At Waterstone on High Ridge, our engaging lifestyle is designed to help older adults live the retirement lifestyle they want and deserve. With a focus on whole-body wellness, a jam-packed calendar of inspiring programming, and fine dining that’s both nutritious and delicious, you’re in for a treat. We invite you to visit and enjoy a complimentary lunch to learn more about our vibrant, engaged senior living community.

In our previous Tech Talk blog post, we shared the benefits of Amazon Echo and how its Alexa technology can help enrich and enhance your lifestyle. Today, we’re sharing another piece of lifestyle technology that literally follows you wherever you go: the Apple Watch.

What Is the Apple Watch?

Remember the old Dick Tracy cartoons and his famous two-way radio watch? The Apple Watch takes that idea and runs with it for a 21st-century device that does more than just tell time: It’s a communication hub, a health and fitness tracker, a music player, a portable link to the internet, and so much more.

Originally released in 2015, the Apple Watch is now in Series 8 and has all-new features, including an electrocardiogram app, a temperature sensor, a heart rate sensor, a blood oxygen app, a sleep monitoring app, and more. These new features make it an especially useful device for seniors and their family members because it provides a next-level, immediate view into one’s health, fitness and safety.

How Can Apple Watches Help Seniors?

Most people use the Apple Watch for health and fitness (which Apple Watch models were originally designed for). As a fitness tracker, the Apple Watch has heart rate monitors, step trackers, and goal settings so that you can gamify your health and wellness.

The newest Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 8’s echocardiogram app is a useful tool for seniors who may have heart issues. It has irregular heart rhythm notifications, as well as high and low heart rate notifications. It also provides information on your sinus rhythm and atrial fibrillation, among others. The Apple Watch’s technology can store all this medical information, which makes it easy to upload real-time, accurate data to your doctor or caregiver.

Benefit for Seniors: Fall Detection

All Apple Watches have a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, which can detect falls – a very helpful feature for seniors who may have balance and mobility issues. When the watch detects a fall, it activates an Emergency SOS feature that can be dismissed within 60 seconds. If the message isn’t dismissed, the watch can automatically contact emergency services and share accurate, real-time locations so that medical professionals know exactly where to go to provide assistance.

Benefit for Seniors: Emergency SOS

The Apple Watch – like other Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad – includes an Emergency SOS feature that lets you quickly call 911 with just the press of a button. Seniors can also set up their watches to send a message to caregivers, family members, or other emergency contacts if an accident or emergency occurs.

senior woman checking her heart rate on her smart watch

Benefit for Seniors: Medical Alert

No longer do you need to wear a physical medical alert bracelet in the event of an emergency. The Apple Watch allows you to set up a Medical ID in the Health application. There, you can store information about allergies, medications, blood type, emergency contact numbers, and more. It’s a streamlined, easy-to-update feature that allows you to keep track of important health information.

Health Monitoring Options for Seniors and Caregivers

Beyond providing fitness monitoring and emergency service features, the Apple Watch has a variety of non-emergency trackers that can help seniors and their loved ones create health goals and monitor a variety of factors to determine trends and locate any issues.

Benefit for Seniors: Sleep Monitor

Getting a good night’s sleep is instrumental for cognitive health and overall wellness. The Apple Watch can record your sleep trends for the past 14 days, estimating how much time you spend in each sleep stage. You can also create bedtime schedules that help you meet your sleep and wellness goals.

Benefit for Caregivers: Check-Ins

The Apple Watch can allow loved ones and caregivers to check in on senior family members via free apps like ElderCheck Now. When this app is enabled, approved individuals can check their loved one’s heart rates and request check-ins through the Apple Watch. With just the press of a button, seniors can let their loved ones know that everything’s fine, providing peace and security for everyone involved without even having to make a phone call.

Benefit for Seniors: Medication Reminders

Using another free App, Mango Health, seniors can get medication and healthy habit reminders so they don’t have to worry about missing a dosage. Other apps like CareZone include features such as prescription medication deliveries and other time-saving options that allow seniors to live a little more independently.

woman using an apple watch for seniors

Benefit for Seniors: Connection and Entertainment

Of course, as with other lifestyle technologies like Amazon Alexa, the Apple Watch is plugged into all the benefits that you enjoy on your iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. With just a few taps, seniors can check the weather, read the news, watch funny cat videos, FaceTime grandkids, listen to music … the options are only limited by your imagination.

Enhance Your Lifestyle and Stay Connected at Waterstone of Westchester

There are so many ways that technology can assist people of all ages, and at Waterstone of Westchester, we’re always searching out the latest and greatest technologies to help enrich our residents’ lives. Beyond health and wellness, engagement and entertainment, programming and connection, we also provide in-person, caring support to help you or a loved one. Call us today to learn more about the technologically advanced and personalized caring we offer.

In a world of products promising anti-aging properties and companies trying to sell magic cures to slow the aging process, it can be easy to be swept up in trying to stay young. Fortunately, the negative views and stereotypes associated with aging are decreasing, so we can either try to fight the future or take aging as what it is – a gift – and live as gracefully and as healthily as possible.

What exactly can you do to age well and live a long life? Some of these books may hold the key. Check out our five favorite books on aging well below and start enjoying the benefits today.

Senior woman enjoys reading in the library

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully | Joan Chittister

In The Gift of Years, Joan Chittister discusses the many facets of the aging process. Regarded as inspirational, topics include:

  • Accepting and celebrating getting old
  • Aging’s purposes and surprises
  • The challenges and struggles of growing older

Aging Wisely: Strategies for Baby Boomers and Seniors | Dr. Robert Levine

Everyone ages; however, not everyone ages well. Aging Wisely shares helpful insights into what happens to our minds and bodies as we age – and how our approach to life, attitudes about ourselves, and feelings about aging can impact that.

This book also reiterates that overall, we are in control of our lives and health, calling on us to take action on items we can control to age well, reduce the risk of physical decline, and lower the chances of memory loss and dementia.

A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging: Stay Smart, Strong, and Active | Edward H. Thompson, Jr., and Lenard W. Kaye

This comprehensive guide to healthy aging from a man’s perspective discusses all aspects of health as men reach middle age and beyond.

From managing their physical, mental and spiritual health and relationships to creating new careers and contributing their skills and experiences to their communities, this guide truly covers it all.

Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being | Dr. Andrew Weil

Through all phases of life, Dr. Weil shares that there are many things we can do to keep our bodies and minds in good shape.

Sharing information on nutrition, stress management, exercise, the science of aging, and the facts and myths of anti-aging medicines and techniques, this book is a wonderful educational resource.

The Longevity Paradox: How To Die Young at a Ripe Old Age | Steven R. Gundry, MD

Aging does not need to mean decline. In fact, it can mean living to a ripe old age – with the benefits of youth. How can we achieve this? It might just start with the microorganisms within our bodies, and more specifically, our gut.

These microorganisms control our quality of life, and fortunately, we can help support them. Discover a nutrition and lifestyle plan that can help you prevent and reverse disease while helping you feel younger.

Age Well With an Active Retirement at Waterstone at the Circle

At Waterstone at the Circle, we embrace aging and provide a range of ways to ensure residents age well within our community. No matter residents’ needs, preferences or goals, we’re here to support them with:

  • A convenient urban setting close to nature trails, restaurants, retailers and entertainment in Boston and Beyond
  • Life enrichment programs featuring lecture series, social opportunities, outings and trips
  • An indoor heated pool and fitness center staffed with Train Boston® fitness and aquatic instructors
  • Access to supportive care services to meet various care needs
  • Menus featuring locally grown and sourced ingredients ensuring fresh, delicious and nutritious meal choices

Are you ready to ensure a happy and healthy retirement? Independent living at Waterstone at the Circle is the perfect place to start. Contact us to learn more about our lifestyle or to talk about making a move today.

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