Elderly Care: 6 Tips to Boost Heart Health
Old age comes with its own set of problems and one of the most serious issues the elderly have to face is heart problems. While heart issues can affect anyone, the risk of cardiovascular disease goes up as you get older. In fact, more than 67% of people between the ages of 60-79 years suffer from some form of heart disease. After 80 years of age, that number jumps to greater than 84% of people.
Heart disease is one of the biggest killers among the senior population and is a major cause of disability. It is also one of the reasons why quality elderly care is emphasised so often. During aging, changes occur in the heart that set the backdrop for heart disease. The heart walls thicken and stiffen, preventing the muscle from relaxing and filling adequately between beats. Thus, inefficient pumping during periods of exertion can contribute to fatigue and exercise intolerance.
While scientists understand that age-related changes occurring in the heart can lead to heart disease, it is becoming clear that many of these changes are influenced as much by lifestyle as by age. Leading a healthy lifestyle, including following a nutritious diet, may bring down blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and help you reach or keep a healthy weight. These effects can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Therefore, to prevent heart disease and lower the risk, here are a few tips seniors must follow.
Fill Up on Plants
Plant-based foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and legumes. These whole foods are high in nutrients, including fibre. Fibre can lower the risk of heart disease and may stave off weight gain by helping you feel fuller for longer. Eat a colourful variety of fruits and veggies. Make sure you select grains that are whole, like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice.
Avoid Processed Foods
Packaged foods tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories, saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. Excess calories can lead to weight gain, unhealthy fats can raise bad cholesterol, and sodium can increase blood pressure. A heart-healthy diet also limits foods containing added sugar so you can focus on foods that pack more nutrients.
Include Lean Proteins in Your Diet
Eggs, beans, seafood, and skinless cuts of poultry are excellent sources of lean protein. Make sure you include fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice per week. Try salmon, herring, tuna and trout.
Choose Fats Wisely
Saturated fats are found in animal sources, including fatty cuts of meat and whole-milk dairy products. They’re also in certain tropical oils, like coconut oil. Trans fats are found in processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils, such as some baked goods and fried foods. Replace these unhealthy fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are in many nuts and seeds, canola and olive oils, fatty fish, and avocado. Healthier fats may even lower bad cholesterol levels, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Drink Lots of Water
Older adults can be at risk for dehydration. This is due in part to a decreased sense of thirst. So, be sure to drink plenty of water. Staying well hydrated may help keep your heart from working too hard. To make sure you’re getting enough fluids, pay attention to the colour of your urine. If it’s clear or pale, you’re likely hydrated. If it’s darker, you should drink more liquids.
Everyone loves a good night’s sleep, but this can get more difficult as we age. Lack of sleep is more than just an inconvenience; it can raise your risk of a heart attack, as well as other conditions, such as obesity, depression, and diabetes. Help your senior loved one prioritize sleep by setting a schedule for going to bed and waking up, as most adults require a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Walk Your Way to Good Health
Walking is an amazing form of exercise and also has the ability to keep the heart-healthy. Just 20-30 minutes of walking everyday can reduce the risk of heart disease in the elderly.
Following these few steps and changes in lifestyle habits can make a world of difference. It is an important aspect of quality elderly care that a caregiver encourages their senior loved ones to follow these steps on a daily basis.
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