Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States, however, in the past decade the picture has significantly improved as the number of seniors afflicted with the disease has decreased significantly.
“Our experience suggests senior care providers may have helped ignite this improvement by initiating heart-focused prevention programs,” says Callie Whitwell, chief operating officer, and founding partner at Lifetime Wellness. “Many believe that heart disease is a fact of life in our senior years. Yet we have plenty of ways to keep our hearts in great shape, at every age. Understanding how to best approach daily health is essential and being in the know about a heart condition can alleviate anxiety,” she continues.
Yet surprisingly, just 3 percent of seniors have the foundational knowledge to monitor their personal health, follow care plans, and pursue healthy behaviors. “Leaders in senior care understand their pivotal role in helping residents combat heart disease. We work with senior living communities to provide proactive education and activities while helping residents understand how they can put less stress on the heart,” says Whitwell.
Heart disease is the term given to various health conditions that affect the heart. In the US, the most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to heart attacks. “Unfortunately, heart disease is the most common cause of death in the US, and seniors are at especially high risk. A great starting point for senior health education is the heart,” Whitwell says.
“At Lifetime Wellness, we’re devoted to partnering with senior communities to support residents living with heart conditions and to promote wellness as a way of life. This starts with education – helping seniors understand how their heart functions, make better lifestyle choices, and be part of the overall conversation about heart health.”
Lifetime Wellness publishes a Cardiac Education Newsletter for distribution in partner communities. It focuses on easy-to-understand heart disease facts, for example:
- The top risk factor for heart disease is age because aging increases the risk of a weakened or thickened heart muscle.
- Other risk factors include smoking; a diet high in fat, salt, and sugar; diabetes; physical inactivity; and high blood pressure.
- Heart attack survivors who are regularly physically active and make other heart-healthy changes live longer than those who don’t.
- Maintaining good heart health contributes not only to overall health but can help fight memory loss.
- And more!
Make It Your Mission: Be Heart Smart
Every year, Lifetime Wellness coordinates campaigns focused on health and wellness. In honor of American Heart Health Month, they are supporting seniors with a 28-day wellness campaign focused on heart health. The theme is “Make it your Mission: Be Heart Smart!”
Throughout the month of February, communities who have partnered with Lifetime Wellness can participate in a month of daily challenges focused on encouraging heart-healthy actions. There will be one challenge for seniors and another focused on promoting wellness for the caregivers that work with them. It is a good opportunity for those who care for seniors to take their health to heart and make small changes that can make a big impact on their life. Anyone who would like to join in on the educational fun can do so by visiting the Lifetime Wellness Facebook page where the daily challenges will be shared.
“Our end goal is to support residents who are living with chronic conditions and to promote wellness as a way of life,” Whitwell says. “Seniors who understand the workings of their bodies can make informed choices, day by day, for better health and abiding wellbeing.”
Lifetime Wellness offers a portfolio of tools and resources to support its partner communities, designed to bring a whole-person approach to resident wellness that can be customized for each facility.