Owners' Blog

Helping your Parent with High Blood Pressure

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

High blood pressure is a common occurrence as one ages. By the time one reaches 55, over 50 percent of their fellow Americans in the same age group have this disease that increases the risk for several additional diseases. These include heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure, and kidney and eye disease. Like the rest of the body, arteries may grow stiffer which causes the blood pressure to rise. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes that can help keep this rise in pressure in check.

How to Help Your Parent

“Change is not always easy, but with patience and perseverance, we can find good in change. Just remember, if nothing every changed, there would be no butterflies.”—Abhishek Tiwari.
The desire to change will, or course, need to arise from your parent. But there are little ways, barely noticeable, that you can help make a difference and make it a little easier for them to incorporate a healthy lifestyle. Slow and steady wins the race.

Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has proven useful in lowering blood pressure. This type of diet consists of a predominance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish, poultry, garlic, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Help your parent by providing cut up vegetables and a low-fat avocado-based dip or sliced apples with nut butters. Make slow changes by minimizing packaged and processed foods. Help your parent reduce their salt intake by providing fresh herbs as an alternative. They will also need to limit their alcohol intake and if they smoke, quit. Smokefree 60+ is a website that can help.

Exercise

Ideally, your parent will include some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. The local senior community center often offers numerous exercise classes designed for seniors. These may include aerobics, tai chi, yoga and Pilates. The local YMCA may offer water aerobics classes or your parent may be the type of person to enjoy quiet walks through the neighborhood or green spaces. Accompanying your parent every now and then may be just the incentive they need.

Stress

The Mediterranean Diet isn’t just about what one eats; it’s about how one lives. In the area of the world where this diet originated, life is slower, meals are shared, and community is an important part of a life that is never taken too seriously. Help your parent relax by sharing guided relaxation recordings or the sounds of nature, all of which can be found on YouTube.

Senior Care Provider

Change isn’t easy, but, as Tiwari said, we wouldn’t have butterflies without it. Companionship can be a boon and a source of inspiration. Not only can senior care providers offer camaraderie, they can assist with the everyday activities of living, accompany your parent on walks and to exercise classes, run errands such as shopping and return to prepare healthy meals.

Resources
https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/high-blood-pressure

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Suwanee, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.