The cardiovascular system consists of anything that has to do with the heart and circulation. It contributes to several important functions in every part of the body, and it can be affected by aging in several ways, five of which are discussed below. The good news is there are some things seniors can do to keep this important system working as well as possible during the later years of life.
1. An Increased Risk of Chronic Conditions
The CDC reports nearly 90 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and more than half have at least two. The most common ones, diabetes and heart disease, can affect both the heart and circulation. Seniors with chronic health issues can minimize their risk of cardiovascular problems by following their doctors’ recommendations, which typically include a focus on healthy eating and regular exercise.
2. Age-Related Weight Gain
Because metabolism slows with age, it becomes difficult for seniors to lose weight or stay within a healthy weight range. This becomes a cause for concern when older adults are carrying around excess weight for a long time. The added strain on the body makes the heart work harder, which could lead to heart failure or affect circulation. A good starting point for seniors with excess weight is to follow a doctor-approved diet and recommendations for safe, effective forms of exercise.
If your loved one needs help adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, a professional caregiver can be a fantastic resource. Anchorage in-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
3. High Blood Pressure
According to the National Council on Aging, high blood pressure is very common in older adults. Chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension, can affect the cardiovascular system by increasing the risk of stroke, heart disease, and an assortment of other health issues that can affect the cardiovascular system. It’s often treatable with medication and lifestyle changes. Whole grains, fruits and veggies, and low-fat dairy products are among the foods that can naturally lower blood pressure in seniors.
4. Less Active Lifestyles
Not all seniors naturally become less active. That being said, it can happen if there are mobility limitations, which are more common in older adults. However, seniors with mobility issues can still stay active with appropriate modifications. For instance, yoga and water-based forms of exercise can target core muscle groups, increase circulation, and boost overall cardiovascular health in ways that are gentler yet still effective.
A professional caregiver with training in healthy lifestyle practices can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement for your loved one. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them attain this goal. Families can trust senior home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living longer and healthier lives.
5. Higher Cholesterol Levels
Johns Hopkins Medicine points out that cholesterol levels tend to increase with age. These levels can also fluctuate in older women after menopause. High cholesterol can increase the risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease, which affects about 40 million adults 65 and older, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Preventive steps for seniors include:
- Getting regular cholesterol screenings
- Reducing the consumption of red meat and other sources of saturated fats
- Eating more apples, beans, oatmeal, and other foods high in soluble fiber content
- Not smoking, losing weight, and getting regular exercise
A professional caregiver can provide additional support for your efforts to help your loved one adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Anchorage Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (907) 770-0907 to schedule a free in-home consultation.