“Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it!” – Nayyirah Waheed
You can’t escape them this time of year: flaming red heart-shaped balloons, cookies, cakes, boxes of chocolates, and cards that grab our attention and remind us to show those most important to us how much we love them. However, they also can serve as a stark reminder about the importance of heart health awareness and the need to take steps to improve our own heart health, to protect that most vital of organs.
This can be particularly crucial for seniors, who encounter a number of changes to the heart, most notably stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, which may bring about high blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke, and heart disease.
Fortunately, however, is there are steps seniors can take to reduce the potential risk of heart complications and keep the heart healthy throughout aging, such as:
- Boost physical activity. After first obtaining the doctor’s approval and recommendations, help encourage and motivate your older family member to get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week – working out each day, if at all possible. You will find unlimited options available, so discover what your loved one most enjoys: walking, bowling, riding a stationary bike, gardening, or even dancing! And since it is always more fun to exercise with a pal, offer to work out with the older adult, so you both enjoy the health advantages.
- Incorporate more heart-healthy foods. Healthy eating habits can be hard to implement and maintain if a senior loved one is used to fatty, salty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements is normally a more effective way to build lasting habits. For example, try exchanging one unhealthy snack of chips or cookies 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 improving heart health.
- Include stress-relieving strategies. Reducing stress is a vital aspect in maintaining heart health, as well as emotional wellbeing. Ensure the older adult’s daily routine includes enough 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 speaking with a therapist for additional coping tactics to more effectively manage stress.
- Planning and preparing meals that 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
If you’re looking for help at home in Kansas City or the surrounding areas, contact us any time at 913-440-4209 for more information regarding our services and also to request a no-cost in-home consultation. We’re available for as little as a couple of hours weekly, up through and including 24-hour, live-in care, to provide just the right solution for a senior you love.