After a stroke and rehabilitation, what's next for a patient and his or her family? There are care options out there. Nursing homes may come to mind. They focus on long term care, while adult day care offers a save environment with planned activities, meals, medicines and sometimes transportation.
Pedro Rivera's laugh would make anyone smile. He spends his days at Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care in Matthews.
"I meet other people. I have relationship with them," said Rivera. "They have different programs, they preach, they say the word of God."
Participants in the program also walk the gardens, catch up with friends while watching a little television or play another favorite game..
However last July, one day after Rivera's 44th wedding anniversary to his wife Carmen, it was no laughing matter. Rivera had a stroke.
"Scary, overwhelming is probably the best way to describe it," said Carmen.
Despite her fear, Carmen found the strength to quickly dial 911.
"That made 90 percent of the difference when is comes to rehabilitation," she said. "They had the medication in his system within 45 minute window and that really made a difference."
Carmen says after her husband's stoke she felt isolated, devastated and didn't know where to turn. Until one day she was driving down the road and saw a sign.
"There is an alternative. One that is totally comprehensive," said Nate Huggins, the CEO of the Blessed Assurance Adult Day Program. "It's complete with meals, medications, bathing services and all the activities during the day."
"I have peace of mind when i'm at work," said Carmen. "This place is a blessing, what the sign says, "blessed assurance."
The Rivera's say step by step, hand in hand they faced adversity and won.
Doctors say start investigating now for local adult day cares or other care options so you won't be scrambling if a stroke unfortunately happens to someone in your family. And, they always want you to remember the word "fast." It's actually an acronym that describes what to check for if you suspect someone is having a stroke.
"F" stands for face. Ask the person to smile, see if one side of their face droops. "A" stands for arms. Ask the person to raise both arms, determine if one arm drifts downward. "S" is speech. Ask them to repeat a simple sentence. Listen to their speech to see if it's slurred. "T" is time. Every second counts. If the person has a tough time with any of these takes, call 911 immediately.