“Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it!” – Nayyirah Waheed
You cannot escape them around this time of the year: flaming red heart-shaped balloons, cakes, cookies, boxes of chocolates, and cards that grab our attention and encourage us to show those most important to us just how much we love them. But they also can act as a stark reminder to follow easy tips to improve our heart health and safeguard that most essential of organs.
This is especially critical for seniors, who encounter a lot of changes to the heart, such as stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits within the arteries, which could bring about high blood pressure, cardiac arrest or stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
The good news, however, is that by following a few tips to improve heart health, older adults can lower the risk of heart complications and keep the heart healthy throughout aging, such as:
- Increase physical activity. After first obtaining the doctor’s approval and suggestions, help motivate and encourage your older family member to get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week – daily, if at all possible. You will find countless options available, so discover what the senior most enjoys: walking, bowling, gardening, riding a stationary bike, or even dancing! And since it is always more fun to work out with somebody, offer to exercise with the senior, so you both reap the health advantages.
- Incorporate more heart-healthy foods. Healthy eating habits can be difficult to implement and maintain if a senior is used to fatty, salty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements is usually a more effective way to generate lasting habits. For instance, try replacing one unhealthy snack of cookies or chips each day with fresh fruit; or replace the white bread in the senior’s sandwich with a whole grain choice. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) meal plan from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is also a great tool for maximizing heart health.
- Integrate stress-relieving strategies. Decreasing stress is a key aspect in maintaining heart health, as well as emotional wellbeing. Make sure the older adult’s daily routine consists of ample time for enjoyable, relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to music, spending time outdoors, and engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes. Your senior loved one may also benefit from talking with a counselor 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 older adults time to relax
- Offering friendly companionship for conversations and engaging, fun activities
- And more
Contact the best St. Louis home care agency, Compassionate Nursing Services, any time at 314-432-4312 for more information on our services and also to request a free in-home consultation. We’re available for as little as a few hours weekly, up through and including 24-hour, live-in care, to provide the best solution for a senior you love. To learn about each of the communities where we provide care, in addition to St. Louis, please visit our Service Area page.