“Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it!” – Nayyirah Waheed
You cannot 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 closest to us how much we love them. However, since February is also Heart Health Awareness Month, they can likewise act as a stark reminder to follow heart healthy tips in February and beyond in order to safeguard that most important of organs.
This can be especially critical for the elderly, who encounter a variety of changes to the heart, such as stiffness and a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, which might bring about raised blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke, and heart disease.
Fortunately, however, the following heart healthy tips for February and beyond can help keep the heart healthy throughout aging:
- Increase physical activity. After first obtaining the doctor’s approval and recommendations, help motivate and encourage your older loved one to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week – ideally working out each day, if possible. There are endless options available, so discover what your loved one 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 work out with the senior, so that you both reap the health and fitness benefits.
- Include more heart-healthy foods. Healthy eating habits may be challenging to implement and sustain if a senior is used to salty, fatty, or sugary food choices. Making gradual replacements is often a more effective way to generate lasting habits. For example, try exchanging one unhealthy snack of chips or cookies every day with fresh fruit; or substitute the white bread in the older adult’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 key factor in preserving heart health, in addition to 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 engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes. Your senior loved one may also take advantage of talking with a therapist for further 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 older adults time to relax
- Offering friendly companionship for conversations and engaging, fun activities
- And more
Email or call us any time at 361-643-2323 for more information regarding our home care in Aransas Pass and the surrounding communities, and to request a free in-home consultation. We are available for as little as a few hours weekly, up through and including 24-hour, live-in care, to provide the ideal 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.