Almost 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, with nearly 75% of strokes occurring in people over the age of 65. For a large percentage of these individuals, recovery from a stroke is a tough and trying process. But according to scientists, one unexpected trait may drastically improve your ability to recover from a stroke. Bilingual Helps When Recovering from Stroke
That trait: Bilingualism.
Surprised? At Visiting Angels, our senior home care professionals were too! But that didn’t hamper our senior home care providers from enjoying this positive news.
“While bilingualism might be a surprising answer for stroke recovery, any news that could help high-risk individuals prepare for an attack is good news,” says Larry Meigs, CEO and President of Visiting Angels, and an expert in senior home care.
Recovery Rate Increased Full 20% in Study
The news comes from a study conducted in Hyderabad India, where a large number of residents speak two or more languages. Researchers in Hyderabad were inspired after discovering a study from Toronto on Alzheimer’s. That study found that bilingual individuals had slower onset rates for Alzheimer’s. Since ztrokes and Alzheimer’s both affect cognitive function, the Hyderabad researchers decided to see if a similar effect could be found in individuals who suffered from strokes.
To perform their study, the researchers, led by Dr. Suvarna Alladi, checked the hospital records for more than 600 stroke sufferers. Because of the number of languages spoken in Hyderabad, more than half of the subjects of the study spoke two or more languages. They then compared recovery rates between patients who spoke one language vs. those who spoke two or more languages.
Amazingly, bilingual patients were twice as likely to fully recover from a stroke as unilingual patients. 40% of patients who spoke two or more languages regained full cognitive ability after their strokes, whereas only 20% of unilingual patients fully recovered.
Applying This to Senior Home Care
For those at a high risk of stroke, this offers an innovative new way to protect oneself. While learning a language is a major time and energy commitment, for many people it’s a lifelong dream that just never happens.
So if you’re a senior home care provider for your loved one, and your family has a high risk of stroke, you may wish to suggest learning a second language to your loved one. You may even wish to try learning a language together, especially if you might be at risk yourself.
Of course, the best protection for a stroke is through prevention. The senior home care providers from Visiting Angels can help your loved stay active and healthy. If your loved one needs senior home care, contact your local office today to learn more.