“Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it!” – Nayyirah Waheed
You can’t 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 encourage us to show those closest to us just how much we love them. But they can also serve as a stark reminder to employ simple tips to keep the heart healthy for ourselves in order to safeguard that most vital of organs.
This can be particularly important for the elderly, who experience a number of changes to the heart, most notably stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits within the arteries, which can bring about raised blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
The good news, however, is that these tips to keep the heart healthy can help minimize the possibility of heart complications throughout aging:
- Boost physical activity. After first obtaining the doctor’s approval and recommendations, help motivate and encourage your older family member to get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise every week – ideally each day, if at all possible. There are unlimited options available, so see what your loved one most enjoys: walking, bowling, riding a stationary bike, gardening, or even dancing! And since it’s always more enjoyable to exercise with a buddy, offer to exercise with the senior, so you both reap the health benefits.
- Incorporate more heart-healthy foods. Healthy eating habits can be difficult to implement and maintain if a senior loved one is used to salty, fatty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements is oftentimes a more effective way to create lasting habits. For instance, try exchanging one unhealthy snack of cookies or chips each day with fresh fruit; or replace the white bread in the older adult’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 fantastic tool for improving heart health.
- Integrate stress-relieving strategies. Reducing stress is an essential element in sustaining heart health, in addition to emotional wellbeing. Ensure the senior’s daily routine consists of enough time for enjoyable, relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to music, spending some time outdoors, and participating in favorite hobbies and pastimes. The senior may also benefit from talking with a counselor for additional coping tactics to better manage stress.
- Planning and preparing meals which are both tasty and nutritious
- 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 410-756-0959 for more information about our home care in Owings Mills, MD and the surrounding communities, and also to request a no-cost in-home consultation. We are available for as little as a few hours every 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 Locations Served page.