“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 exactly how much we love them. However, they can likewise function as a stark reminder to take steps to boost senior heart health and to safeguard that most important of organs.
This can be especially crucial for older adults, who experience a lot of changes to the heart, most notably stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, which can result in high blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke, or cardiovascular disease.
The good news, however, is there are steps older adults can take to reduce the risk of heart complications and keep the heart healthy throughout aging. For example:
- Increase physical activity. After first getting the doctor’s approval and suggestions, help motivate and encourage your older loved one to get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise every week – ideally working out a bit each day, if possible. There are unlimited options available, so see what the senior most enjoys: walking, bowling, gardening, riding a stationary bike, or even dancing! And since it’s always more fun to exercise with a pal, offer to exercise with the senior, so you both experience the overall health benefits.
- Include more heart-healthy foods. Healthy eating habits may be hard to implement and sustain if a loved one is used to salty, fatty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements is often the best way to create lasting habits. For example, try replacing one unhealthy snack of cookies or chips every 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 [MaMM2] from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is also a good tool for increasing heart health.
- Integrate stress-relieving techniques. Decreasing stress is an essential aspect in preserving heart health, along with emotional wellbeing. Ensure the senior’s day-to-day routine consists of sufficient time for enjoyable, relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to music, spending time outdoors, and participating in favorite hobbies and pastimes. Your loved one might also benefit from talking with a therapist for additional coping tactics to better manage stress.
- Planning and preparing meals that are both nutritious and tasty
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, exercise classes, or wherever a senior needs to go
- Helping with household chores to allow seniors time to relax
- Offering friendly companionship for conversations and engaging, fun activities
- And more
Call us today at 303-699-8840 for more information on our senior care in Centennial and the surrounding communities to request a complimentary in-home consultation. We’re available for as little as a couple of hours each week, up through and including 24-hour, live-in care, to provide the perfect 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.