How Seniors Can Celebrate National Heart Month
In February, people’s thoughts turn to love and romance, conjuring up images of hearts and flowers in their minds. While it is a great time to share your feelings with the ones you love, it is also the perfect time to turn your focus to the human heart, recognizing cardiovascular issues and learning how to take care of your heart.
Given the fact that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death among both men and women in the country, with heart disease causing one in every four deaths, February is also the ideal time to raise awareness by helping the seniors in your life celebrate National Heart Month with some heart healthy tips.
1. Wear Red!
American Heart Month, another name for National Heart Month, is hosted annually by the American Heart Association. Each year National Wear Red Day ® is celebrated in February as a way to show support and spread awareness for heart disease. National Wear Red Day ® is Friday, February 7, 2020. It’s easy to join in, simply wear your favorite red ensemble and when you are complimented, share the reason you are wearing red.
2. Eat the Rainbow!
You may have heard “eat the rainbow” which is a simple expression to remind everyone to eat healthy by adding more color to their diet. To lower the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends everyone eat eight or more servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Fruits and veggies promote heart health, helping to control blood pressure as well as weight by providing the needed vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Nutritionists can help senior adults with menu plans that include a variety of foods to help them “eat the rainbow”.
If you are helping older members of your family make healthy changes to their eating habits, you can also work to reduce their intake of salt by trying new seasonings and flavorings like fresh herbs and spices. Too much salt in the diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn can damage blood vessels and lead to a buildup of plaque resulting in heart disease.
3. Keep Stress in Check
Everyone has stress, but ongoing anxiety and chronic stress increase the risk of heart disease. You can help your senior loved ones reduce stress and decease the potentially negative effects, by encouraging their participation in hobbies and activities. Other stress relieving activities like deep breathing exercises, yoga, taking a walk, having a pet, or engaging with friends can also help.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
When you or your loved one fails to get enough sleep or good quality sleep, it can result in negative effects on blood pressure, increase inflammation, and changes in metabolism, all of which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. So, how much sleep do seniors need? Eight hours of quality sleep is optimal. Avoiding too much caffeine and establishing a bedtime routine can help increase the quality and length of sleep.
5. Get the Body Moving
A heart healthy lifestyle benefits when the body gets moving. For seniors, it only takes twenty to thirty minutes of moderate activity to help lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Seniors can take advantage of fitness classes with others their age, fitness centers in senior living communities, and community walking trails to get moving. Many fitness centers offer classes like water aerobics, tai chi, or yoga, taught by professionals and designed for senior adults. A short walk or even chores can add the extra measure of needed activity.
6. Don’t Be Afraid!
Learning about heart disease and the ways to prevent it can help alleviate fears. Rather than fear heart disease, be an advocate who helps the seniors in your life embrace heart healthy habits. Small steps in the prevention of heart disease can mean big improvements in overall health and wellness. Starting heart healthy habits sooner rather than later is also important as is seeing the doctor regularly.
Celebrate National Heart Month with Jewish Family Home Care
If you need additional guidance or more specific heart healthy tips to help celebrate National Heart Month this February, please contact us to learn how Jewish Family Home Care can help. At Jewish Family Home Care, our caregivers can help you promote a heart healthy lifestyle for the older adults and seniors that you love and care for.