SCES adds Stroke Awareness Materials to Volunteer Training

As part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness on the importance of timely action in the event of stroke, Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is adding stroke awareness materials to its volunteer training process. The agency relies on about 300 volunteers for programs ranging from Money Management to Medical Advocates.

“The central idea is training volunteers to know the signs of a stroke, and ensuring they understand it’s vital to call for help right away if there is a stroke”, explained SCES Volunteer Programs Manager Marie Mazzeo.

“Our volunteers are very involved with the clients, so we think the training is very important, to help them recognize the signs of a stroke,” said Mazzeo. “It’s also an important tool for everyday life.”

The move comes as part of a yearlong collaboration between SCES and Mount Auburn Hospital to promote the Act FAST stroke awareness campaign, which stresses that quick emergency care improves the chances of saving brain function in the event of a stroke.

FAST is also an acronym to help remember the sudden signs of stroke:

  • Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time to know when the first symptoms appeared