February is American Heart Month, and Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Milwaukee, is honoring the awareness campaign by sharing ways for seniors to renew their commitment to better heart health. While more than 700,000 heart attacks occur in the United States each year, the good news is that more than half of all heart disease is preventable. Consider these tips to help your senior loved one improve their heart health:
Shop and Eat Better
Make cardiovascular health a priority by getting into the habit of choosing healthy selections when shopping for your senior loved one. A heart healthy shopping list should include:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables
- Seafood (fish and shellfish)
- Skinless chicken and turkey
- Nuts and high-fiber foods
Getting quality sleep has many health benefits for seniors, especially when it comes to the heart. Poor sleep habits can generate more stress hormones, which can contribute to high blood pressure, clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), heart failure, chest pain (angina) and abnormal heart rhythms.
Visit a Cardiologist Annually
An annual trip to the heart doctor can give you a good idea of where your senior loved one stands when it comes to heart health. During a heart evaluation, get the following information:
- Triglyceride levels (150 or lower is ideal)
- “Good” and “bad” cholesterol levels (to determine dietary needs)
- Body mass index (to put together an appropriate diet and exercise plan)
Keep your senior loved one as active and involved as possible with daily walks and exercises based on ability. Even participating in volunteer programs can boost cardiovascular health – and reduce stress, which can also contribute to heart problems. Strength training (focusing on both upper and lower body strength) at least twice a week can also help seniors stay heart healthy.
Changes in senior health habits should be incorporated slowly to increase the odds of developing new habits, which usually takes a few months. This is especially important for senior loved ones who are still fairly independent when it comes to their daily activities and may only need minimal help. If you are unable to provide the assistance your aging loved one needs, you can always consider hourly home care in Milwaukee, where a professional caregiver can come on an as-needed basis to help with nutritious meal preparation, daily exercise, medication reminders and more.