Heart-healthy guidelines to practice on World Heart Day
World Heart Day is especially important this year, as the coronavirus can have the most impact on people with heart conditions.
People with cardiovascular disease are more at risk of contracting serious forms of the virus, and may be more afraid to get ongoing care for their hearts, according to the World Heart Federation.
This gives all the more reason for seniors and those susceptible to heart disease to take care of your ticker, which can keep you out of the hospital and results in better health overall.
Stay active or get active
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death on the planet. Causes include smoking, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Many factors that contribute to heart disease are behavioral, which means you have the power to prevent it.
Being active regularly reduces your risk of heart disease and having a heart attack, and helps control common risk factors that lead to heart disease, according to the Heart Foundation.
Most of these are common sense, but it can help to have the reminder and find motivation with friends or other people who hold you accountable.
- Take a walk- it’s free and easy. If you live independently, walk around your neighborhood and breathe in some fresh air. Or take a stroll with your caregiver. Healthy Streets Seattle allows people to walk worry-free of cars and stay 6 feet apart from others. Take a look at this city wide map of Seattle streets that are blocked off, which include Alki Point and Lake Washington boulevard, both of which offer great views.
- Browse Silver Sneakers for their online library of on-demand classes designed for seniors, from yoga to cardio and strength-training classes. Find out if you have Silver Sneakers covered in your Medicare Advantage plan.
- Check out SeaCare’s guide to healthy practices at home, including low-impact exercises such as yoga.
- Cook a healthy meal that includes lots of vegetables, some whole grains and healthy fats. As the Heart Foundation points out, eating healthy isn’t about including one food or excluding another. It’s about a pattern of eating over time that benefits heart health.
September is also sexual health awareness month, so check out other latest blog on the important of talking about sex. Sex reduces stress and anxiety and lowers your blood pressure, which is a major contributing factor to heart disease.
And for someone recovering from a heart attack, the common adage goes if you can walk up two flights of stairs without chest pain, then it’s safe to have sex.
Don’t miss out on doctor’s appointment
At SeaCare In-Home Care, we stress this over and over again. Thanks to technology, you have the ability to interact with a healthcare professional in the safety of your own home. Are you not so technologically apt? That’s in part what caregivers are for- helping you stay on top of your health.
Using telemedicine for certain treatments can keep you from unnecessary exposure to the virus.
The use of tele health is spiking according to Home Health Care news. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services are allowing telemedicine to be billed at the same rate as in-person appointments for dozens of services You can ask questions through a portal rather than waiting for your next appointment. Plus, it takes driving to the doctor out of the equation.
In addition, mental issues such as anxiety, stress and depression are some of the more well-known factors impacting heart health. Online counseling has the potential to lessen the rates of isolation and depression among seniors.
Give thanks to our healthcare workers
From reports of the rapper and artist Lizzo sending a surprise lunch to healthcare workers across the country, to first responders showing up outside of local hospitals to honk and hold signs of support, the country has realized more than ever the importance of nurses, doctors, and others working in emergency health services.
If you want to strengthen those “heart” muscles and give back to the medical community who’s been responding to a crisis for the past six months, here’s a few ideas:
- The Swedish Medical Center foundation has a gratitude garden for their healthcare workers. You can send a note of gratitude at this link.
- Donate a meal to healthcare workers through the Seattle-based non-proft Nue Planet. You can also add a healthcare center to their rotating schedule of meal donations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you know a healthcare worker, you can send them flowers, lend them an ear and let them know you’re there for them. They’re trained to be caregivers, but they also need to be cared for during stressful times. Being recognized and heard can go a long way.
Kick back and relax
- Read a book- something we could all use right now is a break from reality. As any book lover knows, the written word can transport you to other worlds far away. So whatever other reality you want to escape to, you can still support local bookstores by ordering from Indie Bound. It’s an online community of local booksellers that offers a wide range of titles. Search for a book in the top right hand corner, and the results will prompt you for your zip code so you can order the book from your local seller.
- Watch a funny movie- SeaCare has a list of movies about caregiving if you’re looking for something to watch with some relevance to your own life.
- Meditate - Meditation has become more commonplace in the last handful of years, possibly because of all the new ways to practice that fits into our modern lives. The smartphone app Headspace is one such way (which is offering a free annual subscription for healthcare workers.) Science and thousands of studies point to the benefits of meditation, a main one being stress reduction.
- Color in coloring books - Studies show this activity can reduce stress and anxiety, and help us tune out the stressors in our lives. Plus, it’s a way to show your creative side. Town and Country has a fun list of the best adult coloring books, which includes one depicting animals drinking cocktails and recipes to go with it (drinking in moderation may also reduce stress).
A caregiver can be an invaluable resource to maintaining your overall health, heart and otherwise.