Commonly referred to as high blood pressure, hypertension is the most common chronic condition among seniors. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hypertension also presents greater health risks for older adults, including an increased risk of dementia and heart issues. If your senior loved one has chronic high blood pressure, here are six ways you can help him or her manage the condition.
1. Encourage Healthy Weight Loss
Excess weight is one of the main factors that contributes to hypertension. Studies suggest even losing 10 pounds can lower blood pressure levels. If your loved one is overweight, talk to his or her doctor to get specific dietary recommendations.
Note: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is often suggested for adults looking to manage hypertension.
2. Suggest Foods that Naturally Lower Blood Pressure
Long-term dependence on medication for hypertension may be minimized if you steer your loved one toward foods that naturally lower blood pressure. Such foods include:
• Collard greens, spinach, and other leafy greens
• Berries, citrus fruits, and red beets
• Yogurt and other low-fat dairy products
• Salmon, mackerel, and other fish with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids
If you usually help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals but need a break now and then, consider enlisting the help of a professional caregiver. 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. Chandler 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. Discourage Excessive Salt Use
The Mayo Clinic notes reducing salt intake could lower blood pressure by 5–6 mm Hg. As for how to help your loved one consume less salt, start by reading labels to check sodium content. Also, encourage your loved one to flavor foods with herbs and spices to discourage the temptation to automatically reach for the salt. Minimizing the consumption of processed and salt-cured foods is another way to cut down on sodium intake.
4. Stress the Importance of Regular Exercise
Regular physical activity is another effective way for seniors to reduce high blood pressure. This can be accomplished with moderate exercise, which could include:
• Daily walking or jogging
• Bicycling or riding a stationary bike
• Swimming or water-based exercises like water aerobics
Strength training can also reduce hypertension if your loved one is capable of doing such exercises safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seniors aim for about 150 minutes of exercise per week.
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. Chandler 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.
5. Help Your Loved One Ditch Unhealthy Habits
Certain unhealthy habits can play a role in how well hypertension can be handled in seniors. The main unhealthy habits related to high blood pressure include:
• Cigarette smoking
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Consistently high levels of stress and anxiety
• Excessive caffeine consumption*
*This isn’t always the case, so check your loved one’s blood pressure about 30 minutes after he or she drinks coffee. If the numbers are consistently higher, suggest reducing caffeine consumption.
6. Encourage Regular Blood Pressure Monitoring
It’s not unusual for high blood pressure to produce few or no symptoms. For this reason, part of how you help your loved one address hypertension should be encouraging regular monitoring. In fact, research suggests home monitoring devices may be more accurate than devices used in doctors’ offices. The general recommendation is to check blood pressure twice daily, since levels can vary. The two figures can then be averaged.
For seniors who find it challenging to handle their blood pressure on their own, professional caregivers can provide support and encouragement for making lasting lifestyle changes. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare. You 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. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (480) 448-6215 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.