For many people, February is known as the month of love, and fittingly also happens to be American Heart Health Month. While the month marks a time to show our love to the important people in our lives, it’s also a time to make sure we show some love to ourselves, by making lifestyle changes to keep our heart strong and healthy. Heart health for seniors is particularly important because our heart undergoes many changes as we age.
According to a report from the American Heart Association, heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalizations among adults 65 and over in the United States. And according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, problems related to the vascular system can increase the risk of dementia and other illnesses that affect cognitive performance. Due to the importance of heart health, we outlined a few tips to consider below to keep your heart healthy and improve your overall wellness.
One of the most important ways to keep tabs on your heart health is to maintain regular checkups with your healthcare provider. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for some seniors to visit a primary care physician in person. If you currently live in a home environment and visiting a doctor’s office isn’t an option, reach out to your insurance provider to learn about telehealth or virtual care visits. Additionally, home health visits through an accredited provider, like Concordia Visiting Nurses may be an option for seniors who are home-bound. If you live in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) you may have access to onsite physicians and medical personnel. Concordia at Cabot specifically, offers physician care through Concordia Physician Practice. There are many benefits to accessible onsite care at a senior community including 24/7 care and assistance with medication management.
In addition to consulting with your healthcare team and keeping your medications in check, maintaining a heart healthy diet and physical activity are two of the most beneficial ways you can show your heart some love. Heart healthy foods filled with antioxidants provide your heart with the nutrients it needs to perform in peak condition. Senior citizens who have a nutritious diet are less likely to develop weight-related conditions that affect cardiovascular function. At Concordia at Rebecca Residence, a continuing care retirement community in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, as well as all of our senior care communities, residents are offered nutritious meal programs and nutritional education as well as tailored meal options depending on an individual’s dietary restrictions or needs.
Physical fitness is also an important part of keeping your heart healthy. Staying active for 30 minutes a day, or 2.5 hours per week, dramatically reduces the risk of developing heart-related illnesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited gym availability and communal exercise programs – however, there are plenty of ways to exercise at home. Some low-impact exercises you can safely do in a home setting include: stretching, dancing, walking, yoga and even strength training. Exercise also helps lower stress levels that can cause long-term health complications. Finding ways to de-stress each day, whether through exercising, journaling, reading, watching T.V. or talking to family and friends improves your mood and ultimately – your heart health.
There is no denying that our chance of developing heart-related conditions grows greater with age. Keep your risk to a minimum with help from the caregivers at Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Each one of our senior care communities and home and community-based service lines goes above and beyond the standard for healthcare facilities, providing our residents and patients with highly qualified professionals who are dedicated to providing quality care. Schedule a tour with any one of our locations today, by messaging us through our contact form or calling 724-352-1571 and discover how our commitment to caring shows in everything we do.
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