“Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it!” – Nayyirah Waheed
You cannot escape them around this time of year: flaming red heart-shaped balloons, cakes, cookies, boxes of chocolates, and greeting cards that grab our attention and remind us to show those closest to us how much we love them. But they can likewise function as a stark reminder to take steps to boost heart health for seniors and protect that most vital of organs.
For older adults, its typical to experience a number of changes to the heart, most notably stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits within the arteries, which can bring about raised blood pressure, cardiac arrest or stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
The good news, however, is there are steps older adults can take to lessen the possibility of heart complications and keep the heart healthy throughout aging, including:
- Increase physical activity. After first getting the doctor’s approval and recommendations, help encourage and motivate your senior loved one to get at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly – ideally working out each day, if possible. With endless options available, see what your loved one most enjoys: walking, bowling, gardening, riding a stationary bike, or even dancing! And since it’s always more fun to exercise with a friend, offer to work out with the senior, so that you both enjoy the overall health benefits.
- Incorporate more heart-healthy foods. Healthy dietary habits may be difficult to implement and maintain if someone is used to fatty, salty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements can be a more effective way to generate lasting habits. For example, try exchanging one unhealthy snack of chips or cookies every day with fresh fruit; or replace the white bread in the older adult’s sandwich with a whole grain option. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) meal plan from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is also a terrific tool for enhancing heart health.
- Incorporate stress-relieving techniques. Cutting down stress is a key element in preserving heart health, along with emotional wellbeing. Make sure the older adult’s daily routine includes plenty of time for enjoyable, relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to music, spending some time outdoors, and engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes. The senior may also benefit from talking with a therapist for additional coping tactics to more effectively manage stress.
- Planning and preparing meals which are both tasty and nutritious
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, exercise classes, or wherever a senior wants to go
- Helping with household chores to allow seniors time to relax
- Offering friendly companionship for conversations and engaging, fun activities
- And more
Email or call us any time at 618-667-8400 for more information regarding our home care in Godfrey and the surrounding areas and also to request a no-cost in-home consultation. We are available for as little as a few hours every week, up through and including 24-hour, live-in care, to provide an ideal solution for a senior you love. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.