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February is American Heart Month and although heart disease remains the leading cause of death among both men and women in the US according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of seniors affected has decreased significantly. The CDC also reports that that fewer seniors are dying from this disease in the last decade which points to education and prevention as the reason.
Evidence suggests there is a correlation between assisted living communities and long-term care providers may have helped bring out this change. This is largely due to senior living communities providing continual encouragement, structure and support that aide seniors in maintaining a heart-healthy life where they may not be living home alone.
Here are 3 Ways Senior Living Promotes Healthy Hearts:
Fitness and Exercise
Senior Living communities’ ultimate goal is to keep their residents healthy and active; something often unachievable when living alone. This is accomplished by numerous exercise activities and outings arranged by the activity’s director and/or community itself. While joining such activities may seem a little intimidating to someone who just moved in, it is meant to urge the individual to try new things, make friends and stay healthy in all areas of life. No one is forced to participate but simply encouraged to make heart healthy decisions. Such activities range from water aerobics, walking clubs, yoga, cooking classes and much more. It’s almost like going to college all over again; a new and exciting experience with the opportunity to join what interests you while making new friends.
According to the American Heart Associating (AHA) there’s a direct relation being active and the probability of developing heart disease so make sure to stay active or consider assisted living which takes care of this for you! Purposely coordinating meal planning with exercise is such an important factor of heart healthy living which brings me to the next topic..
Heart Healthy Diet & Nutrition
Maintaining a proper diet is another key component to a healthy heart. Many people think senior living or assisted living communities prepare food similar to an old school nursing home- untouchable. This is far from reality. Communities today keep in mind delicious, brain and heart healthy food that will wow your taste buds. You are typically served three meals a day restaurant style with actual servers who greet you at the table, take your order from a selection of items on a menu, typically two specials with an always available menu, and deliver outstanding dishes right to your table.
Each community has a registered dietician who ensures residents are receiving healthy and well balances meals including seasoned chefs for a real fine dining experience. Not only are you eating diets such as a Mediterranean diet for heart and brain health, all types of cuisines from around the world are offered. Plus, you don’t have to cook or clean after each meal- sign me up!
Smoke Free Campus
Last but not least, smoking is a big contributor to heart disease. Fortunately, today’s senior living communities are smoke free. This does not mean they are prohibited from smoking, only inside the building itself is banned. However, smoking is moved to a designated outdoor area usually a small distance from the building so other residents are not exposed to the hazardous affects. It’s also important to note that those who are on oxygen are prohibited to smoke as there are very dangers consequences.
Even though this is a minor inconvenience, being able to only smoke in certain areas has actually caused seniors to break the habit and quite smoking altogether. While this is not always the case, some communities will even manage the frequency of cigarette smoking by restricting their access of being to smoke all day long.
What are you doing to prevent heart disease? We’d love to hear additional tips and stories. If you or your loved one is interested in senior living or want to know more about how they can help with much more than lowering your risk of heart disease, contact North Star Senior Advisors today at 407-796-1582 or visit www.northstarsa.com.