“Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it!” – Nayyirah Waheed
You can’t escape them during this time of the year: flaming red heart-shaped balloons, cookies, cakes, boxes of chocolates, and greeting 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 engage in heart health tips for seniors that help to enhance our personal heart health, to safeguard that most important of organs.
This can be especially crucial for older adults, who encounter a lot of changes to the heart, most notably stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, which may result in elevated blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke, or heart disease.
Fortunately, the following heart health tips for seniors can help reduce the potential risk of heart complications common during aging:
- 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 weekly – ideally working out daily, if possible. With unlimited options available, see what the senior most enjoys: walking, bowling, riding a stationary bike, gardening, or even dancing! And because it’s always more fun to work out with a pal, offer to exercise with the older adult, so you both reap the overall health benefits.
- Include more heart-healthy foods. Healthy eating habits can be challenging to implement and maintain if a loved one is used to salty, fatty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements can be a more effective way to develop lasting habits. For example, try replacing 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 option. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) meal plan from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is also a terrific tool for boosting heart health.
- Integrate stress-relieving techniques. Reducing stress is a vital factor in preserving heart health, in addition to emotional wellbeing. Make sure the senior’s daily routine includes ample time for enjoyable, relaxing activities, like reading, listening to music, spending some time outdoors, and engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes. The senior might also find it helpful to talk with a therapist for further coping tactics to more effectively 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 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 603-217-0149 for more information on our home care in Gilford and the surrounding towns, and also to request a free in-home consultation. We are available for as little as a couple of hours each week, up through and including 24-hour, live-in care, to provide just the right solution for a senior you love. To learn about each of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.