Joseph had never put much stock in worrying about eating right and exercising. He simply went about his days, working and helping his wife wrangle their three children. But, when he reached his sixties and retired, he realized there were still a lot of things he wanted to do. Unfortunately, he found he didn’t have much energy to do any of it. When he talked to his doctor about it, his doctor advised that his poor eating habits and lack of exercise had affected his heart health. The doctor advised him to make some healthy changes to his lifestyle, but Joseph wondered if it might be too late.
If Joseph’s story sounds a bit like the story of your own aging relative, you should know that a recent study indicates it isn’t too late for older adults to take charge of their heart health.
Study Says Exercise Improves Heart Health
This new study shows that people who are in their early 60s can have the heart health of someone who is decades younger if they engage in moderate and regular aerobic exercise. Moreover, it doesn’t matter how long they have led an inactive lifestyle.
Previous studies have shown that as people age, their heart muscles grow stiffer. The stiffening and thickening of the heart muscle increases the risk for heart failure. The study showed that people who exercised four to five days per week increased the flexibility of heart muscles, reducing their risks.
Steps for Improving Heart Health
In addition to exercise, there are several other things you can do to help your aging relative to improve their heart health. Here are some steps family caregivers and elder care providers can take to assist older adults to improve their hearts:
- Change Diet: Eating a healthier diet can make a big difference. However, you should expect to completely change an aging adult’s diet in one day. Instead, make small changes toward a healthy diet. Try adding an extra helping of vegetables or fruit each day to start. An elder care provider can assist with making dietary changes by cooking healthy meals and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks.
- Reduce Stress: Stress can adversely affect the heart, so it’s important to try to reduce stress. Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are all excellent ways to lower stress levels. Elder care providers can help reduce stress in a senior’s life because they’ll know that someone will be there to assist with daily tasks and help keep them comfortable in their home.
- Good Hygiene: Washing hands often during the day can help seniors protect themselves from illnesses like the flu, which can harm the heart. Elder care providers can remind older adults to wash their hands.
Regardless of your aging family member’s age, it’s never too late to help them take better care of their heart. Elder care providers are a great way to improve the overall health of seniors since they can help keep seniors more active, prepare healthy foods, encourage stress reduction, and improve hygiene for seniors who have difficulty with personal care.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ, CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY (623) 748-3301.