As people age, the chance of developing heart-related complications increases. However, taking good care of your elderly loved one’s heart may be easier than you realize. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care Philadelphia families trust, has some suggestions to help promote your loved one’s cardiovascular health.
Encourage Regular Exercise
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 is able to pump blood more efficiently and with less effort, reducing blood pressure. People who exercise have a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Additionally, a 2014 study found elderly men who had high blood pressure lowered their risk of death by participating in moderate exercise.
Suggest 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 help 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.
Recommend Eating Whole Grains and Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A healthy diet isn’t just a list of items not to eat. There are many foods that can actually benefit a heart’s health. Whole grains such as oatmeal have positive effects on cholesterol levels and should be encouraged as part of a healthy diet. Additionally, studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, trout, and anchovies can have a positive impact on the heart. Your loved one should try to include fish in his or her diet twice a week. Omega-3 supplements are also available if your loved one doesn’t enjoy or cannot eat seafood.
Make Sure Medical Appointments Are Attended Frequently
High blood pressure often displays no symptoms but can cause heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. The only way to know if your loved one has high blood pressure is by having it regularly checked by a doctor. If your loved one keeps regular medical appointments, his or her doctor can detect problems that lead to heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits that promote better cardiovascular health, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with exercise, meal prep, grocery shopping, and more. For seniors who need more comprehensive care, we also offer specialized dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care in Philadelphia. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our Care Managers at (215) 645-4663 today.