According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 1.6 million Canadians live with the effects of a stroke or heart disease, and each year over 350,000 people are hospitalized for those ailments—and seniors are especially vulnerable to heart conditions. Fortunately, Toronto home care providers note that there are many things that aging adults and their caregivers can do to limit stroke risk.
1. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
The senior diet should be rich in heart-healthy fats and utterly devoid of the trans fats that are commonly found in processed and heavily refined foods. Eating two to three servings of fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, or salmon per week is highly recommended. Olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds should also be present in the senior diet. These help elevate good cholesterol, which in turn lowers blood pressure and moderates overall body weight.
2. Get Active
Seniors should make every effort to lead active lifestyles. This is great for maintaining mood balance, flexibility, and mobility. It will also regulate blood pressure, limit weight gain, and lessen stroke risk. Exercise should last twenty to thirty minutes and should be performed three to five times per week. Seniors can engage in non-impact exercises like swimming or cycling, or they can talk long, afternoon or evening walks.
3. Take Baby Aspirin
When acceptable to do so, seniors can add a single aspirin to their daily medication regimens. This change can significantly lower stroke risk without any significant, adverse effects. Seniors or their Toronto live-in caregivers should discuss the use of baby aspirin with the physician in order to verify that there are no contraindications with any existing prescriptions.
4. Limit Alcohol Intake and Other Stroke-Inducing Habits
Excess alcohol consumption and tobacco use significantly increase a person’s stroke risk. If seniors currently smoke cigarettes, it is never too late to quit. Entering a smoking cessation program can cut stroke risk by more than half while producing widespread health improvements. Although a small glass of wine is acceptable from time to time, hard liquor and beer consumption should be minimized or stopped entirely.
5. Make Risk Factors a High Priority at Checkups
Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and elevated cholesterol among others. When these factors exist, they should be top priority at regular checkups. Seniors and in-home caregivers can work with doctors to establish long-term treatment or management plans for these issues so that stroke risk is minimized.
For some seniors, making heart-healthy changes becomes more difficult with age. Make sure your loved one has the necessary support he or she needs to live a happy, healthy life with help from Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke care in Toronto and offer 24/7 availability, flexible care schedules, and no long-term contracts. Please call (416) 488-8777 today for more information.