With February being American Heart Month, it’s time to give this vital organ some much-needed attention. For caregivers, it is important to watch for signs of heart disease like shortness of breath and chest pain, complaints of pain or numbness in the arms and legs, or even pain in the jaw, throat, or back. As a caregiver, you also play a vital role in making sure your senior loved one is as happy and healthy as possible, and that means taking preventative measures to avoid potential health issues. Here are some recommended ways caregivers can help seniors lower their risk of heart disease, furnished by leading Palm Beach senior home care provider, Home Care Assistance.
1. Keep a Little Chocolate on Hand
Studies have shown people who ate chocolate more than once weekly had a 40% lower risk of heart disease and a 30% lower risk of stroke and diabetes. Encourage your senior loved one to indulge in moderation. Eating too much chocolate could cause weight gain and negate the benefits of the sweet treat.
2. Take Walks Daily
Moderate daily exercise is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. Medical experts suggest aiming for 30 minutes a day. Build exercise into your senior loved one’s daily routine. Get in the habit of going for a 30-minute walk in the morning before breakfast, or break it up into two 15-minute walks during the day.
3. Schedule Regular Dentist Appointments
Most seniors are good about going to the doctor regularly, but haven’t sat in the dentist’s chair in quite some time. As a caregiver in Palm Beach, it’s important to take charge of your senior loved one’s oral health and make sure he or she is going to the dentist every 6 months. Regular teeth cleaning can lower heart attack and stroke risk, and dentists can spot signs of heart disease like loose teeth or swollen gums before your doctor might notice other symptoms.
4. Throw Out the Junk Food
Avoid trans-fat, saturated fat, and salt whenever possible. When you go grocery shopping for your senior loved one, slowly begin making healthy swaps like whole wheat, high-fiber bread instead of white bread, or veggies and hummus for a snack instead of chips or butter crackers. Eating a diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, and lean meat can cut the risk of heart disease by as much as 25%.
5. Suggest Ways to Manage Stress
It’s long been acknowledge that stress is bad for the heart, but not everyone has an easy time relaxing. Help your senior loved one find a stress management tool that works for him or her. Senior centers often offer free or low-cost yoga or tai chi classes your loved one can try, or find a good guided meditation he or she can listen to once a day.
At Home Care Assistance in Palm Beach, we prioritize senior health and wellbeing. If your loved one needs help cooking healthy meals, exercising on a daily basis, or simply needs regular companionship, our caregivers can help. Every caregiver is thoroughly screened and extensively trained in our proprietary Balanced Care Method, which focuses on healthy diet, physical activity, mental stimulation, socialization, and maintaining purpose. Schedule a complimentary in-home consultation by calling (561) 429-8292. Our Care Managers are happy to answer your questions and ensure your loved one receives the care he or she needs