February is American Heart Month so show yourself some love! During this month, organizations raise awareness about cardiovascular disease—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Heart health is important for everyone, seniors and their caregivers alike.
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. Here are a few ways you can increase your chances of a healthy heart:
Sometimes we want to reach for a brownie instead of a banana, and that is okay. The important thing is to maintain a balance: make most of your meals healthy and just occasionally indulge. Some other ways we can be healthier include eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, selecting whole grains over alternatives, eating foods low in saturated fats, salt and cholesterol and eating foods high in fiber. Drink lots of water.
Get Your Blood Pumping
Physical activity is important and cardio exercise is one of the best things to do for a healthy heart. It gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping! Some types of cardio exercise include walking, swimming, biking, and aerobics. It is recommended that adults exercise for at least 30 minutes a day – what type and how much you should do depends on health factors so ask your doctor for suggestions that are right for you.
Have you ever had a “racing heart” when you were excited? Or maybe your heart felt like it was beating up in your throat when you were frightened? Well, there is a connection between the human heart and emotions. Chronic frustration, stress, fear, and even depression can be bad for the heart and increase the risk of heart disease. Some ways we can lower the risk are to remember the things we are grateful for, laughing more, and connecting with others through social engagement. This month, try to remind yourself of the blessings in your life, watch a comedy movie or TV show or call a friend and reminisce.
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others as yourself. ” Mark 12:28-31
During the month of February, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the physical heart including strategies for preventing heart disease and encouraging people to live heart healthy lives. While we know how important it is to keep a healthy physical heart, it is also important that we have a healthy spiritual heart. As you focus on the physical exercises you can do to keep your heart strong, be sure to also plan for the spiritual exercises that will help you to maintain a healthy heart.
The bible provides a lot of guidance on the value of spiritual exercises that affect our heart:
“Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
“Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12: 30-31
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
As we consider the health of our hearts this month, go to the Bible for a real ‘heart check-up’.
Deciding on senior living care for a loved one can be an emotional and difficult decision. Many times a move into a senior care facility follows a crisis situation; however, gradual changes in health, lifestyle or financial well-being can necessitate the need to discuss long-term care or begin the search for new senior living arrangements.
According to Stella Henry, R.N., author of The Eldercare Handbook, “this is probably one of the hardest decisions a child will ever have to make.” Henry, an eldercare specialist, says many seniors “unrealistically believe they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives.”
Regardless of the age of your parent or family member, Henry and other senior care experts believe that lines of communication should be opened early on and that regular conversations about the future and senior long-term care needs should happen over time before a crisis situation arises.
Here are some suggestions for beginning productive and positive conversations:
- Begin the conversation with an attitude of listening rather than telling. “Have you thought about what you want to do if you need more help?” rather than “We need to talk about a plan if you get sick or can no longer care for yourself.”
- Make references to yourself and let it be known that everyone will have to make decisions like this at some point. “I know neither of us want to talk about this, but it’s important that I know what’s important to you. I will have to do the same for myself one day.”
- Be open and honest with the facts. Don’t hide negative information. “It is going to be difficult for you to go up and down these stairs one day. Let’s talk about what some other options might be.”
- Phrase concerns as questions, letting your loved one draw conclusions and be involved in decision-making. “Do you think you are beginning to need help with cleaning or cooking?”
- Allow your loved one to get angry or upset and try to react to these feelings calmly. “I understand you get upset talking about this issue. It upsets me as well but it’s important that we talk about it.”
- Be sure other family members are in agreement and they are involved in the conversation. “Dad, we know this is a difficult discussion to have but we’re all in agreement that it’s important for us to discuss.”
- Leave the conversation open and go back to it another time. “Mom, we can talk about this some more later. I just thought it was important for us to start having some conversations about what you want and need.”
- Include others in the conversation – a spiritual advisor or doctor.
- End the conversation on a positive note. “I’m glad we had that conversation.”
- Do something fun or relaxing afterwards. Go to dinner or watch a movie together.
As difficult as this process may be, remember it is better to involve your parent or loved one in the conversation.
Friends, family, and staff, along with Rod Wolfe and board members of Lakeshore Senior Communities, recently gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the new activity room at The Meadows.
The new multipurpose room is open from 9:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m. seven days a week and will be used for a wide range of activities – including games, arts & crafts, exercise, coffee and cookie socials, and birthday celebrations.
Becky Pardue, ADC Activity Director for The Meadows, strives to create a unique and well-rounded program that gives each resident an opportunity to participate in a variety of meaningful activities. This new room is so important as it allows the residents to participate in activities that suit their interests and enrich their lives.
“I would personally like to express my gratitude to our Lakeshore Board for approving this project; and a special thank you for Jan Welden and a whole host of volunteers who gave of their time, talents, and resources to make this special place a reality”, said Pardue.
Already off to a busy start, the new activity room is a big hit with the residents – recent activities have included movie day on Fridays, complete with popcorn and soft drinks and a Southern Cooking exhibition with country ham and tea biscuits.