It’s no secret that a lot about a person’s body changes with age. The external changes, like wrinkles and grey hair, are obvious. However, there are less obvious changes that occur inside the body. Even the heart changes with age. How it changes can impact the health of your aging relative.
Changes in the Heart
Older adults are at greater risk for having cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke. Conditions like these can cause your aging relative to become very ill or disabled. They may even lead to death. Part of the reason for these conditions is the way that the heart changes as it gets older. Some changes that occur are:
• The heart cannot beat as quickly as it once did during physical exertion or when it is under stress. However, the resting heart rate doesn’t usually change.
• The heart may get slightly larger, particularly in the left ventricle. In spite of the increase in size, a thickening of the heart’s walls means there is less room inside the chamber, so the heart cannot hold as much blood and may fill slower.
• Arteries and blood vessels get stiffer, making the heart work harder to push blood through them. This change can lead to high blood pressure.
Keeping an Older Heart Healthy
Although the heart changes, there are still plenty of ways to keep it healthy. Some of the things your aging relative can do to promote heart health are:
• Increase Physical Activity: Exercising regularly helps to keep weight under control and keeps the heart strong. Encourage the senior to engage in activities they enjoy, like going for walks, swimming, or taking a yoga class.
• Quit Smoking: If your aging relative smokes, they need to quit. Smoking is a major risk factor for many health problems, including hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure.
• Eat a Heart Healthy Diet: Your older family member’s diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat or salt.
• Control Stress: Stress can harm the heart, so lowering stress levels is a protective measure.
• Sleep: While people sleep, the body repairs damaged tissues, including in the heart and blood vessels. Seniors should try to sleep from 7 to 9 hours each night.
Elder care can assist your aging relative to take better care of their health. Elder care providers can prepare healthy meals with lots of fruits and vegetables. An elder care provider can also support the older adult while they try to quit smoking, offering them a distraction when they have an urge to smoke. And, having an elder care provider to rely may automatically relieve some of the senior’s stress because they’ll know someone will be around if they need help.
If you or an aging loved one needs Elder Care in Granite Bay, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.