stroke awareness month

A stroke can happen to anyone at any age, but as you advance in age, the risks increase. To better understand the risks and what you can do to reduce the chance of stroke, it is important to know the facts.  Every year, there are nearly 795,000 Americans that experience a stroke, which is the fifth leading cause of death. In addition to risks of fatality, strokes cause more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. Read on to learn 4 things you need to know about strokes. 

  • What is a stroke?

A stroke most often occurs when blood flow to the brain is restricted because it is blocked by a clot. When this happens, the brain cells in the area begin to die due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients needed to function.

There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot is obstructing the flow of blood to the brain while a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and prevents blood flow. An individual can also have a “mini stroke” when there is a temporary clot. 

  • What disabilities can result from a stroke?

A stroke is the leading reason for disability in the U.S. When blood flow to the brain is restricted, the brain loses function for some time and it can have trouble regaining function. Because the brain is the command center of the entire body, the damage can affect all areas- resulting in mild to severe disabilities. These often include paralysis, cognitive function issues, problems with speech and emotional issues.

  • What does a stroke look like?

If someone is experiencing a stroke, the key symptoms are: 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Brigham Health Hub shares “Think FAST” face, arms, speech, and time. The most common signs of a stroke are difficulty smiling, lifting your arms, and speech difficulties. Be on the lookout for these in yourself and your loved ones.

  • What should you do?

Because strokes cause injury to the brain and can limit its function, sometimes causing confusion, you may not realize that you are experiencing a stroke and neither will those around you if they do not know what signs to look for. You may not be able to call 911 on your own. That’s why everyone should know the signs of stroke – and know how to act fast. If symptoms of a stroke are suspected, don’t wait for things to worsen, call 911 now. The decision to call immediately for medical help can be essential to avoiding a lifelong disability.

The good news is that studies show nearly 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. The key to prevention is identifying and reducing your risk factors which include: high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, diabetes, atherosclerosis, circulation issues, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. 

Improving your health begins with learning what you can do to take better care of yourself. Let Stroke Awareness Month be a reminder to better understand the risks, the symptoms, and what you can be doing to prevent a stroke. Changes in diet, increasing physical activity and taking action to reduce stress are all good steps to take on your own. Visiting your doctor for regular health screenings is also important to assess and minimize your risk of stroke. 

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healthy vision month

May is National Healthy Vision month which is a good reminder of how important it is to monitor changes in your vision and eye health, especially as you age. As we get older, both near and far sight is likely to decline and you become more susceptible to disease that can impact vision. Some eye conditions, if left untreated or undetected early can cause vision loss and even blindness. Read on for 6 steps to help protect your vision health: 

  • Get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams

One of the most important steps you can take to properly manage your vision health is to schedule regular eye exams. When you do, the doctor check for any changes in vision and for signs of any eye-related diseases. It is best to visit your eye doctor (an optometrist or ophthalmologist) annually or at least every two years. During a regular exam, the doctor will run a variety of tests checking for health issues such as glaucoma, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy. The doctor will put drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils, which enables them to do a more thorough examination and detect any signs of disease or degeneration. They will also check your medical history to determine if you are at higher risk for disease. Diabetes, high blood pressure, poor nutrition and other factors can impact eye health.  

  • Eat right to protect your sight 

A healthy diet is key to healthy aging. Good food choices not only help to prevent obesity and other related diseases, but also to care for your eyes. Foods that specifically promote vision health are dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale and fish that are high in omega-3’s such as tuna, trout, salmon, and halibut. Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower blood pressure, which supports better overall health.

  • Know your family’s eye health history

Go through your family’s medical history and check if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition. Some eye conditions can be hereditary and put you at higher risk. Sharing this information with your physicians can help ensure you are receiving proper preventative care.

  • Grab the protective eyewear 

When engaging in physical activity or doing yard work, gardening, home repairs or painting, consider protective eyewear. Wearing goggles or safety glasses will decrease the risk of injury during sports or from harmful debris or chemicals getting in or near your eyes when doing household projects or hobbies like carpentry. 

  • Stop smoking

While we are well aware of the negative impact smoking can have on health, smoking can also be damaging to your vision. The New York Department of Health states, “Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye Syndrome.” 

  • Wear sunglasses 

Sunglasses protect your eyes by acting as a barrier that reflects UV rays. Think of sunglasses as sunscreen for your eyes. Experts recommend that your shades protect your eyes from at least 99% of UV rays. 

Studies show that people with vision problems are more at risk for heart issues, high blood pressure, lower back pain, increased risk of falls and depression. Caring for your vision health also benefits your overall health. 

In honor of National Healthy Vision Month we encourage everyone use it as a reminder to schedule regular health screenings including an eye exam. 

Visit to learn more about Adobe Health & Wellness, its case management services and healthcare technology innovations. We are dedicated to helping individuals live a healthier, more active quality of life.

pet therapy for snioers

The companionship of a pet can be life changing for people of all ages, but it can be especially beneficial for seniors. Many seniors struggle with loneliness, isolation, and depression.  A pet can bring comfort and joy to a senior living alone or with other family members. Spending time with a dog or cat has also shown to promote overall health. If you do not have a dog or cat, pet therapy is an available option. For seniors living in a retirement, assisted living community, rehab center or in hospice, there are individuals and organizations that will bring therapy pets in to visit with residents. If your senior is being cared for at home or living independently, pet therapy is still available.  To learn more about the benefits of pet therapy for seniors, read on. 

Physical health benefits of pet therapy 

As we age, our bodies become more fragile and prone to health issues and injuries. These physical challenges can make exercise difficult for seniors. Pet therapy provides a mix of physical health benefits including:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduction in physical symptoms of anxiety (i.e., trembling, sweating)
  • Improved mobility 
  • Increased energy to exercise

Pet therapy can be combined with other therapies to help seniors begin an exercise regime and build physical strength. For more information on exercising as you age, check out our blog post on the topic.

Emotional benefits of pet therapy for seniors

Sadly, it is common for seniors to experience loneliness, which often brings on feelings of anxiety and depression. Pet therapy helps combat these feelings. Simply having a dog or cat to sit with and interact with brings about feelings of joy, peace and reduces negative feelings from being alone. Organizations offer opportunities for individual pet owners to certify and register a pet as an emotional support animal. If you secure proper approvals and certifications for a pet, they can visit hospitals and retirement homes, accompany owners on airline flights and, in some cases, live in an apartment free of charge.

A few of the major emotional benefits of pet therapy include:

  • Reduced feelings of loneliness feelings
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Increased social skills
  • Increased confidence and self- esteem
  • Increased feelings of compassion and peacefulness

Mental benefits of pet therapy for seniors

A study by the National Library of Medicine revealed that spending as little as 15 minutes with an animal initiates hormonal changes in the brain which can lower stress levels and increase serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone). Here are a few other mental benefits of pet therapy:

  • Improved sense of purpose in life
  • Stimulates memory
  • Calming behaviors 
  • Mental stimulation

Not only do pets bring a sense of comfort but caring for a pet also requires a level of responsibility for a senior which is good for their overall health and daily life. 

It is important to note that pet therapy alone is not a cure for health issues. We recommend speaking with a medical professional about the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of innovative therapies like pet therapy discussed in this blog. If you are caring for an aging loved one or considering options to benefit your own overall health, various supplemental therapies can make a difference.

Visit to learn more about Adobe Health & Wellness and its case management services and healthcare technology innovations that help its members live a healthier, more active quality of life.