There are several ways for seniors to renew their commitment to better heart health. While more than 700,000 heart attacks occur in the United States each year, the good news is that more than half of all cases of heart disease are preventable. Consider these tips to help your senior loved one boost his or her heart health.
Make cardiovascular health a priority by getting into the habit of choosing healthy selections when shopping for your loved one. A heart-healthy shopping list should include:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables
- Seafood (fish and shellfish)
- Skinless chicken and turkey
- Nuts and high-fiber foods
Follow a Low-Sodium, Low-Fat Diet
Sodium makes the body retain water, putting more pressure on the heart to remove it and raising blood pressure. Encourage your loved one to flavor his or her foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Foods low in saturated fat can prevent heart disease by keeping cholesterol levels low. Removing skin from chicken breasts, avoiding red meat, and cooking with heart-healthy olive oil are small changes that can make a big difference for your loved one’s heart.
Managing all the aspects of a loved one’s health, including diet, can be challenging for a family caregiver. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Getting high-quality sleep has many health benefits for seniors, especially when it comes to the heart. Poor sleep habits can generate more stress hormones, which can contribute to high blood pressure, clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), heart failure, chest pain (angina), and abnormal heart rhythms.
Visit the Doctor Regularly
Seniors with high blood pressure may display no symptoms, but hypertension can cause heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. The only way to know if your loved one has high blood pressure is by having regular checkups with his or her doctor, who will be able to detect problems that lead to heart disease, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. An annual trip to the heart doctor can give you a good idea of where your loved one stands when it comes to heart health. During a heart evaluation, get the following information:
- Blood pressure levels
- Triglyceride levels (150 or lower is ideal)
- “Good” and “bad” cholesterol levels (to determine dietary needs)
- Body mass index (to put together an appropriate diet and exercise plan)
If your parent needs help attending doctor’s appointments or social events, consider hiring a professional caregiver. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Santa Rosa, CA, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
Exercise is one of the best things your loved one can do to keep his or her heart healthy. As the heart grows stronger from cardiovascular exercise, it’s able to pump blood more efficiently and with less effort, reducing blood pressure. People who exercise have a decreased risk of heart disease. Additionally, a 2014 study found elderly men who had high blood pressure lowered their risk of death by participating in moderate exercise.
Keep your loved one as active and involved as possible with daily walks and exercises based on ability. Even participating in volunteer programs can boost cardiovascular health and reduce stress, which can also contribute to heart problems. Strength training (focusing on both upper and lower body strength) at least twice a week can also help seniors boost their heart health.
If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits that promote better cardiovascular health, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional homecare. Santa Rosa families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. For compassionate, reliable in-home care, trust the experienced professionals from Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (707) 843.4368 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.