Ways to Stave Off Strokes in the Senior Years

By 9  am on

If you’re providing care for an older loved one, it’s understandable to want to do everything possible to keep him or her healthy. One of the health-related concerns common among this age group is increased stroke risk. Risk factors include underlying health issues, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, and diabetes. Here are some steps you may take to help your loved one reduce the risk of having a stroke during the golden years.

Serve More Veggie-Infused Meals

When the body is lacking sufficient nutrients, such as vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid, levels of a naturally produced amino acid called homocysteine increase. Elevated levels of this amino acid have been associated with increased stroke risk. When cooking for your loved one, include more nutrient-rich vegetables to keep homocysteine production in check. Veggies that tend to stave off strokes include:

• Swiss chard, spinach, and other green leafy veggies
• Potatoes and sweet potatoes
• Tomatoes

Carrots, mushrooms, and alfalfa are also worth considering, since these veggies have high B6 and B12 levels. Also, broccoli is high in folic acid, especially when cooked.

If your busy schedule isn’t able to accommodate extra attention to your aging loved one’s diet, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Cincinnati elder care professionals may assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, home care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Encourage Natural Stress-Relieving Activities

Some medications prescribed to treat stress and anxiety elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of developing clots, two risk factors associated with strokes. When possible, encourage your loved one to minimize reliance on medication for this purpose with natural stress-relieving methods. Activities that may achieve this goal include:

• Meditating
• Doing gentle, relaxing forms of yoga
• Listening to music
• Making things by hand, reading, sewing, and other enjoyable hobbies

Discourage Unhealthy Habits

According to the CDC, there’s a strong link between cigarette smoking and strokes. If your loved one regularly smokes, this is one of the unhealthy habits to discourage to reduce stroke risk. Others include:

• Having poor sleep habits or not getting sufficient sleep
• Not being physically active
• Eating sugary and/or fatty snacks and foods

In Cincinnati, home care service agencies may be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care, your aging loved one may lead a happier and healthier life. We encourage seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Encourage Healthy Eating Choices

A healthy diet is one that increases the flow of beneficial nutrients while reducing the risk of stroke for seniors. In addition to veggies, a healthy diet that plays a role in preventing strokes is one that includes:

• Fresh fruits that include berries and citrus fruits
• Liver, skinless chicken, beans, lentils, and other lean proteins
• Healthy snacks such as walnuts and Greek yogurt
• Fish such as salmon, herring, lake trout, and cod, which have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids 

Encourage Regular Exercise

Exercise increases the heart rate, which boosts circulation and keeps blood flowing to the brain. Regular exercise also helps seniors stay within a healthy weight range. This is important for stroke prevention because it reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which has been linked to increased stroke risk. If your loved one has difficulty with exercise, encourage gentler options that may be just as beneficial. These include:

• Walking for 30–60 minutes a day
• Swimming and other activities that may be done in water
• Doing chair-based exercises
• Riding a stationary bike 

Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. You may rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that may stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at 513-993-5025.