The Importance of Heart Health for Older Adults
Life enrichment is central to the Luther Manor lifestyle. This is why residents are encouraged to explore passions, interests, hobbies, and abilities that support their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Luther Manor wants seniors to make smart, sensible choices in all areas of their lives. And when it comes to smart choices for staying healthy while planning and preparing for the future, the community supports and encourages healthy habits that positively impact long-term health.
You may have guessed this philosophy if you read last month’s blog post, Top 10 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Older Adults. If you did not get a chance to read the blog, simply click on the title to check it out. As an appropriate follow-up to the January blog, the community is celebrating February as American Heart Month with even more great information aimed at providing valuable resources to help you stay heart healthy.
Following a 1963 Presidential Proclamation by Lyndon B. Johnson declaring the month of February American Heart Month in the United States, the first American Heart Month was celebrated in February of 1964. Every year since, Americans have continued to focus on the importance of heart health.
The most popular personal tactics for maintaining a healthy heart are still regular physical exercise and good nutrition. At their extensive websites, the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute on Aging outline identified risks, encourage Americans of every age to take charge and offer multiple ideas for enhancing heart health.
Here, we’d like to focus on 5 heart-healthy practices you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Some suggestions relate to exercise and nutrition, while others take a more “non-physical” approach. All are solid suggestions from the experts, and we hope they will be useful in helping you meet your heart-healthy goals in 2020.
1. Know your numbers
As a first step in controlling heart disease and improving your heart health, it’s important to know and regularly monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight. Daniel W. Jones, M.D., and former president of the American Heart Association says, “Next time you visit your health care provider, ask for a screening of your critical health numbers and develop a plan . . . to manage them.”
The beauty of a Life Plan Community like Luther Manor is that your personal well-being as a resident is of primary importance to the entire staff. The staff is always there to support the overall health of all residents—this includes monitoring your own health by knowing your numbers. And if you need assistance in getting this done, Luther Manor’s supportive senior care services are designed to add a layer of convenience to your daily life. As an independent living resident, all you have to do is ask for help in gathering and understanding your critical health numbers.
2. Develop a comprehensive wellness plan
Experts will tell you that personal wellness involves much more than exercise and eating right. They advise everyone to look at the whole picture—physical, intellectual, social and spiritual—when developing a personal wellness plan. A well-balanced plan for heart health promotes socialization, engagement, elimination of stress and worry, and even how you interact with the more spiritual aspects of life.
Stephanie Rutkowski, Terrace Life Enrichment Specialist at Luther Manor, couldn’t agree more. “Heart-health is more than just physical exercise,” Stephanie explains. “It’s positively fueling your whole body and addressing all areas of personal wellness. For instance, your heart gets stronger when you socialize, when you connect spiritually and pray, and when you feel you are loved and accepted for who you are and where you’re at. At the Terrace, we promote heart health by nurturing all these important areas in the lives of our residents.”
The Luthor Manor’s Terrace Life Enrichment team puts considerable emphasis on physical activity to enhance heart health. They offer a daily morning exercise class held on the patio, Monday through Thursday with cardio, strength, and balance exercise. Additionally, water fitness classes are offered in the therapy pool to help residents raise their heart rates with less resistance on joints and muscles. To further emphasize the physical aspects of good heart health, once per month the Terrace invites Luther Manor’s nutritionist to make a special presentation on the health benefits of select food, including heart-healthy choices.
“Combating stress and promoting relaxation are just as important as exercise for heart health,” says Stephanie. To combat stress and promote relaxation and the more intellectual and spiritual dimensions of health, Terrace Life Enrichment offers yoga and aromatherapy. “Along with exercise, our entire activity calendar is created to boost resident’s socialization and well-being, and many programs are specifically developed to feed spiritual health and relieve stress particularly for those residents transitioning into a new life stage,” Stephanie continues. The Life Enrichment team’s current initiative—20/20 Vision for Wellness—provides a 2020 get-healthy jump-start for Luther Manor residents through activities and incentives to be earned in all aspects of personal health.
3. Laugh a lot
People are subjected to a lot of stress in this busy world and feeling like the world is closing in on you can come from more than just a lengthy to-do list. Sometimes, you worry about things and don’t even realize it—causing undue stress that negatively impacts your heart health. You might need a good diversion.
A community environment with lots of friends around, companionship, and numerous activities and events to share together is just the ticket for eliminating stress from your life. And it does a lot to elevate the “laugh quotient,” too. Maintenance-free living at Luther Manor can help you eliminate your to-do list and, in the process, find an abundance of personal support, sharing and laughing from both residents and staff.
In addition, Luther Manor provides a sensible strategy for life’s “what-ifs”—predictable, streamlined costs, convenient services, and the availability of on-site care options—so residents can feel prepared for the future. It’s easy to see why everyone’s HAPPY at Luther Manor. Residents will be the first to tell you it’s easier to stay healthy when you stay happy, carefree, and laugh!
4. Snuggle with a pet
Besides the obvious value of a good snuggle, there’s also a strong connection between pets and heart health. Studies have shown pet ownership may help relieve stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increase fitness, and boost overall happiness and well-being. Pets also provide social support, which is an important factor in helping you stick to healthy habits.
Luther Manor is a pet-friendly and active community. The community and its residents understand the value of a heart-healthy bond between owners and their pets, so they are welcomed members of the Luther Manor family! If you don’t own a pet, don’t worry, a therapy dog comes to visit Luther Manor twice a month!
5. Sleep, rest, nap
Sleep habits can have a lasting effect on overall heart health. Simply tweaking a few of your habits like turning off the television or going to bed and waking up at a consistent time can help you sleep better. Plan for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. One more thing, plug in your phone and other electronic devices away from the bed so as not to distract or awaken you during the night with light or sound alerts.
In addition to a good night’s sleep, don’t feel bad about catching a little snooze during the day. Most experts say a 20-minute nap is good for your heart and enough to reap the benefits of increased alertness, performance, and overall mood.
Experience you can trust.
With a 55-plus year history and experienced professional management, Luther Manor understands what seniors need and want for a heart-healthy lifestyle and more. If you’re interested in learning more about Luther Manor, contact us today.