Heart disease is dangerously common, and while there are genetic components, there are several lifestyle choices we can make to help limit the likelihood of heart problems throughout our lives. As a group, seniors may face special circumstances that can pose extra challenges, but it is always possible to improve one’s physical activity levels, diet, stress management, and social activities to promote good heart health.

As we age, it becomes more difficult to stay active, eat well, handle certain stressors, and stay social. One source for assistance for all of these areas is quality home health care services offered by the experienced professionals at Integracare. Our Caregivers include Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses, Personal Support Workers, Registered Physiotherapists, and Registered Massage Therapists who provide individualized health care plans that promote independence and joyful living wherever you or your loved one calls home. Our home care services across Toronto promote heart health and overall wellness with collaborative care designed with Clients, their families, and the community in mind.

There are several types of exercise that are great for seniors that can be adjusted to suit one’s energy levels and abilities. Swimming is a popular choice because the buoyancy of the water supports weight, muscles, and joints, plus the temperature of the water prevents overheating. Tai Chi offers a wide range of motions, light stretching, and steadily increases the heart rate. Instructor-led classes of any kind help with proper motions and movement, plus classes are a great opportunity to socialize. Some other ideas include walking groups, chair yoga, or resistance training. Experts recommend an 80/20 split between moderate aerobics and strength training for seniors. A medical professional should always be consulted before starting or making any major changes to one’s physical activities. An Integracare Caregiver can assist with creating a physical health plan to suit you or your family member’s needs.

Diet is another major component for a healthy heart, body, and mind. Controlling what and how much one eats has a significant effect on the heart. Meals should have appropriately-sized portions of nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. A diet that emphasizes plant-based foods over animal sources is best for cholesterol levels and the heart, as is consuming a lot of fibre and healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6. Avoid eating too much salt, sugar, saturated and trans fats, and preservatives. An Integracare Caregiver can assist with nutrition advice, meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.

Stress can contribute to and worsen heart conditions. For seniors, it can come from many sources, such as living with a chronic illness or pain, losing a loved one or partner, adjusting to major life changes like retirement or general health setbacks, or caregiving for others. Support from others is important for stress management, and this can come from family, friends, Personal Support Workers, Therapists, and others. Physical activity and diet helps to combat stress, as well. It is vital for you or your loved one to regularly practice self-care, which may include meditation, massage, taking extra rests, or treating yourself. Social activity and bonding with others can help relieve stress and strengthen the support system. Seniors can find friends through joining social groups or taking a class. Support can also come from the connection made with a Caregiver who understands you or your family member’s situation and needs.

Integracare is committed to providing safe, comprehensive, quality health care that promotes excellent heart health and wellbeing. Contact us today to learn more about our personalized care plans and services.