“Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it!” – Nayyirah Waheed
You can’t escape them during this time of year: flaming red heart-shaped balloons, cakes, cookies, boxes of chocolates, and greeting cards that grab our attention and encourage us to show those closest to us how much we love them. But they also can serve as a reminder of the heart health tips for seniors that should be followed in order to protect that most vital of organs.
Heart health is especially crucial for older adults, who experience a lot of changes to the heart, such as stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits within the arteries, which may result in increased blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke, and heart disease.
The good news, however, is there are steps seniors can take to lower the potential risk of heart complications and keep the heart healthy throughout aging, such as:
- Boost physical activity. After first getting the doctor’s approval and suggestions, help encourage and motivate your older family member to get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week – ideally working out daily, if possible. There are countless options available, so discover what the individual most enjoys: walking, bowling, riding a stationary bike, gardening, or even dancing! And since it is always more enjoyable to work out with a friend, offer to exercise with the older adult, so you both reap the overall health benefits.
- Include more heart-healthy foods. Healthy eating habits may be difficult to implement and sustain if a loved one is used to fatty, salty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements is often an effective way to develop lasting habits. For example, try exchanging one unhealthy snack of chips or cookies every day with fresh fruit; or substitute 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 good tool for enhancing heart health.
- Incorporate stress-relieving strategies. Cutting down stress is an integral element in maintaining heart health, along with emotional wellbeing. Make sure the senior’s everyday routine consists of enough time for enjoyable, relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to music, spending time outdoors, and engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes. Your loved one may also benefit from talking with a counselor for further coping tactics to better manage stress.
- Planning and preparing meals which are both nutritious and tasty
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, exercise classes, or wherever a senior would like 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 847-787-7572 for more information about working with a Barrington caregiver or home health professional in nearby areas and to request a no cost in-home consultation. We are available for as little as a couple of hours weekly, up through and including 24-hour, live-in care, to provide the ideal solution for a senior you love. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Locations Served page.