High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because many people don’t know they have it until they have a heart attack or a stroke. But on the flip side, it’s also easy to determine and monitor by a simple blood pressure gauge, so you don’t have to wait until a life-changing physical event happens to find out if your elderly parent suffers from high blood pressure.
If you found out on a recent doctor visit that your parent’s blood pressure is not within healthy levels, there are steps you can take at home, both with your parent and his elderly care provider to help him improve his blood pressure levels.
If the doctor recommends medication, the next important step is to make sure your parent takes the medication. Using a daily dose medication container will help. It’ll also help if you or your elderly care provider gives your parent a reminder each day or even hand him his medication.
Regular at-home monitoring reveals blood pressure fluctuations and trends that doctor appointments or checkups simply can’t capture often enough. Your elderly parent should buy a home monitor that is easy to read and use. Large numbers and a single push-button can simplify blood pressure tracking at home. Sharing ongoing blood pressure trends with your parent’s doctor will better inform treatment goals. Have your parent or his elderly care provider write down the numbers each day.
Getting routine exercise (30 minutes a day for at least five days a week) can help alleviate high blood pressure. Have your parent check with his physician to determine what kind of exercise and activity is best for him at this stage in life. If your parent needs someone to take a daily walk with him or drive him to the local pool for some swim classes, your elderly care professional may be able to help with those tasks and ensure that your parent maintains a consistent exercise plan.
If your parent is a smoker or heavy drinker, high blood pressure is just another reason to stop or cut back significantly. Help your parent find a support group or accountability partner to keep him on the healthy track of quitting these unhealthy behaviors.
Salt sensitivity affects about 30% of the population. This sensitivity can make your parent’s body struggle with getting rid of extra sodium thus exasperating his high blood pressure. Encourage your parent to check sodium levels of all prepackaged foods. This might be something your elderly care provider can help with if she goes shopping with your parent. Salt is “hidden” in many frozen and premade meals so if your parent can make more fresh meals, this will help reduce the amount of sodium that is a part of his diet.
Some studies have shown that if a person can relax more often and reduce his stress, it’ll help with high blood pressure. If your parent is willing, have him join a meditation or yoga class to find his inner Zen and reduce anxiety and stress that may be elevating his blood pressure levels.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Medford, MA, please contact the caring staff at Visiting Nurse & Community Care today. (781) 643-6090