As your senior parent ages, his or her risk of developing high blood pressure increases. Often called “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms, untreated high blood pressure can lead to kidney problems, strokes, heart attacks, and vision impairment. New guidelines from the American Heart Association define high blood pressure as 130/80 and above. Though your loved one may not be able to prevent high blood pressure from occurring, simple lifestyle changes can decrease his or her levels.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying a few extra pounds can contribute to higher blood pressure levels. Extra weight increases the workload on the heart, which in turn increases the pressure the blood puts on blood vessel walls. Work with a doctor to determine a healthy goal weight for your parent, and help him or her achieve it through diet and exercise.
Decrease Salt Usage
Many people regularly add salt to their food to make it taste better. However, this habit could be making your loved one’s blood pressure worse. Salt causes the body to retain water. The heart must work extra hard to filter the retained fluids and send them to the kidneys. This excess work raises blood pressure levels. The American Heart Association recommends that seniors consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. Eliminating processed foods high in sodium (such as soups, chips, and crackers) and cooking with herbs instead of salt may help.
If you’re the family caregiver for a loved one and you find it challenging to have the time to shop for the healthiest foods, consider hiring a professional caregiver to take over your duties for an hour or two a day or a few days a month. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Lakewood respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities.
Exercise has a host of benefits for seniors, including better muscle tone, mood, and cardiovascular health. The heart needs strengthening just like the other muscles in the body. Regular exercise strengthens the heart and makes it more efficient at pumping blood, which reduces blood pressure levels. If your parent isn’t in the habit of exercising regularly, encourage him or her to start small with walking for 30 minutes three times a week and increasing this gradually. Finding an activity your loved one enjoys (such as swimming, hiking, or cycling) or finding friends to exercise with can increase the likelihood your parent will stick with the new exercise regimen.
Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still get the benefits of exercise with the help of a trained professional caregiver. Lakewood home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
Find Ways to Decrease Stress
Ideally, the retirement years should be a time to travel, relax, and enjoy the fruits of years of hard work. However, family difficulties, financial challenges, and health concerns can be stressful for the elderly. When under stress, the body releases hormones that spike blood pressure levels temporarily. Over time, these spikes damage the arteries and blood vessels, which leads to chronic high blood pressure. Meditating, doing yoga, simplifying schedules, and getting plenty of sleep can decrease stress levels.
Take Medication Regularly
If your parent has been prescribed blood pressure medications, it’s important for him or her to take them every day to reduce blood pressure levels. Automatic pharmacy refills, medication reminders, and pill organizers can help your loved one stay on track.
Many seniors who find it challenging to manage their blood pressure find that a professional caregiver can provide the reinforcement and direction they need to make lasting lifestyle changes. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. Lakewood families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (303) 987-5992 today.