Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases a senior’s risk of many different medical conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, sleep apnea, dementia, and type 2 diabetes, which is why all older adults need to test their blood pressure at least once a month and make sweeping lifestyle changes if their systolic or diastolic numbers are ever abnormal. Here’s a look at some simple steps seniors can take to get their blood pressure under control and boost their cardiovascular health.
1. Be Active
Most seniors don’t want to spend hours working out at the gym or running on the treadmill, but this doesn’t mean they can’t engage in other physical activities. Even spending 20 or 30 minutes a day gardening or going on a long walk can boost heart health and lower blood pressure. Those who already have high blood pressure should speak with a doctor before engaging in any strenuous activities. The doctor might suggest taking blood pressure medication for a few weeks before starting an exercise routine.
Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still get the benefits of exercise, especially with the help of a trained professional caregiver. Edmonton in-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.
2. Cut Back on Sweeteners and Refined Carbohydrates
Most experts now agree that a low-carbohydrate diet is the best option for people with high blood pressure. Older adults also need to keep a close eye on how much sugar they consume throughout the day. Eating sweet treats causes glucose levels to skyrocket, which impacts blood pressure. As a general rule, the elderly should stick to unprocessed meats, fresh produce, and complex carbohydrates.
If you’re a family caregiver 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. Edmonton 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.
3. Stop Smoking Immediately
Scientists now know that smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things for cardiovascular and respiratory health. As soon as a person begins smoking a cigarette, blood pressure shoots up, and it could stay at a very high level for hours at a time. Seniors who would like to quit smoking should consider nicotine replacement therapy, which gradually reduces cravings over the course of a few months.
4. Learn to Manage Stress
Stress is a perfectly natural response to certain stimuli, but seniors shouldn’t always feel anxious. Chronic stress increases the risk of various health issues, including high blood pressure. Luckily, many people can manage stress with natural treatments and holistic practices, including meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, acupuncture, and spending time out in nature. Some studies have shown that socializing with friends and loved ones can reduce stress as well.
5. Get More Sleep
Many older adults don’t get enough sleep, which eventually impacts blood pressure levels. While sleeping, the body flushes out some of the natural chemicals that raise blood pressure and contract vessels. Coming up with a strict bedtime routine and then following that same routine every night is one of the most effective ways to get to sleep as quickly as possible.
Many seniors who find it challenging to manage their blood pressure on their own 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. Edmonton 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. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (780) 490-7337.