If you are in the business of caring for seniors, like the experts at Home Care Assistance in Mesa, AZ, or if you have an elderly loved one in your home, you know promoting senior wellness and taking preventative measures to combat health risks can be a fulltime job. To make it a little easier, we’ve compiled five of the biggest risk factors for senior stroke that are also relatively easy to treat.
1. High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a dangerous stroke risk factor. In fact, those with higher cholesterol are 40% more likely to have a stroke. If your loved one hasn’t gotten his or her cholesterol checked recently, schedule an appointment with their primary care physician or head to a local clinic. Even if your loved one is in a healthy cholesterol range, increase the amount of heart-healthy foods like fish, whole grains, fruits, and veggies in his or her diet as a preventative measure.
2. Alcohol Consumption
A little alcohol once in a while is perfectly fine for seniors. However, significant consumption can lead to a variety of problems. In addition to liver issues, excess alcohol can cause cardiovascular concerns and a whole host of other problems for seniors. Limit your loved one’s alcohol intake to no more than one drink daily. Try non-alcoholic beer or flavored seltzer water instead.
3. Sedentary Behavior
Sedentary or immobile behavior often replaces moderate to high-intensity activities, and new research shows a correlation between sedentary behavior and increased stroke risk. To keep seniors healthy, frequent exercise is vital–bodily movement helps clear the arteries, reducing stroke risk. Find time to take your elderly loved one out for daily walks when the weather is nice, or find a caregiver in Mesa who can, and consider indoor exercise equipment or a video game like Wii Fit for when it’s too cold to be outdoors.
4. Smoking Cigarettes or Cigars
It’s fairly common knowledge these days that cigarettes are dangerous to seniors’ health, but cigars and cigarillos can also contribute to a stroke. Smoke and tar in the lungs, as well as the chemicals in popular smoking products, all cause contraction of the arteries. Smoking also lowers good cholesterol, causes blood clots, and can thin and narrow blood vessels.
The greater the body mass index, the greater the risk for coronary heart disease. CHD causes plaque to build inside the coronary arteries, and can narrow or block the arteries completely. If your senior loved one has a few extra pounds to lose, map out healthier diet and get him or her started on a fitness routine. Changes won’t happen overnight, and seniors can be more resistant to change, so take it slow. Start by swapping out one bad food for one healthier alternative, like whole wheat bread for white bread, and aim for 15 minutes of exercise four days a week in the beginning.
With a little help, your senior loved one can stay healthy and live a long and fulfilling life. For more information on post-stroke care in Mesa or to learn more about our caregivers, call the home care experts of Home Care Assistance at (480)-699-4899 to speak with a Care Manager and schedule your complimentary in-home consultation.