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5 Ways to Improve Blood Circulation in the Elderly

As a result of certain age-related conditions, many seniors have poor blood circulation. If your elderly loved one experiences the symptoms of a weak circulatory system, including cold or discolored extremities, beginning an exercise regimen or making other lifestyle changes may help. At Anchorage Home Care Assistance, our senior care experts suggest the following five strategies to promote a healthy circulatory system.

1. Start Walking
Daily walks are one of the best ways to promote healthy circulation. When seniors are sedentary for extended periods, blood may pool in the legs, ankles, and feet, which can hamper circulation. Walking requires the leg muscles work and makes the veins begin pumping more blood from the lower extremities back to the heart. If walking for a long time is challenging for your loved one, encourage him or her to go for short distances, like around the block or up and down a hallway in the home.

2. Consider Hydration
Staying hydrated is critical for seniors to maintain a healthy circulation system. For most seniors, drinking around eight cups of water a day is ideal. Because blood is 92% water, if your elderly loved one is dehydrated, his or her circulation cannot flow as smoothly. To help your loved one maintain a high-fluid intake, encourage him or her to drink a full glass of water at each meal, before going to sleep, and after waking up. You may also consider keeping a water bottle at your loved one’s side so he or she will be reminded to sip throughout the day.

3. Stop Smoking
While you probably already know that smoking is bad for senior health, cigarettes are particularly bad for a healthy circulation system. As smoking constricts the blood vessels, seniors who smoke or who are exposed to second-hand smoke tend to experience reduced blood flow to the extremities. While smoking is a hard habit for seniors to break, helping your loved one reduce his or her exposure to cigarette smoke can make a big difference in his or her blood circulation and general health.

4. Try Heel-Toe lifts
If your loved one uses a wheelchair, he or she may be able to improve his or her circulation with a seated exercise. While watching television or doing another relaxed activity, have a family member or an Anchorage part-time caregiver help your loved one place his or her feet flat on the floor. Then, depending on your loved one’s mobility, assist your loved one with lifting and lowering his or her feet. This repeated motion can help the veins pump pooled blood back toward the heart and, if your loved one is able to do this motion independently, may help strengthen leg muscles.

5. Keep Warm  
A common symptom of poor circulation is feeling cold or having the extremities be cold to the touch. The cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can further diminish circulation and cause muscle cramps if oxygenated blood is unable to reach the muscles. Having your loved one wear warm socks and sweaters and use a blanket can help him or her stay warm, even while sedentary.

For seniors who are recovering from a stroke, sudden limited mobility can frequently lead to poor circulation. If your elderly loved one is a stroke survivor, having a stroke caregiver in Anchorage may help promote an efficient recovery. Providing assistance with daily tasks, including navigating the home, personal grooming, dressing, and cooking, the professional caregivers at Home Care Assistance are expertly trained in stroke recovery care. To learn more about our senior care services, give a Care Manager a call at (907) 770-0907 and schedule a free in-home consultation.