Cardiology experts claim it’s very likely actress Debbie Reynolds died of Broken Heart Syndrome just one day after the passing of her daughter Carrie Fisher. Mayo Clinic explains that the potential cause of broken heart syndrome, a temporary heart attack-like condition brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions, is a surge of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, causing a temporary constriction of the arteries of the heart. There you have it—stressful situations and extreme emotions—both abundantly present during these COVID-19 times. And as you may have noticed in the national news, there’s an uptick in cases of broken heart syndrome throughout the country. So, as a local resource for ALL our Chicagoland neighbors, The Carrington at Lincolnwood is taking this opportunity to focus on 5 heart-healthy practices for seniors.
Some suggestions relate to exercise and nutrition; others take a more “non-physical” approach. All are solid suggestions from experts—and useful reminders to help you meet your heart-heathy goals for the rest of 2020.
#1: Know Your Numbers
As a first step in 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 personal wellbeing of residents of The Carrington—those living independently, as well as in Assisted Living and Memory Care—is of primary importance to the entire staff. The staff is always there for care support—this includes monitoring your numbers. And if you have questions or need assistance in getting this done, supportive 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 interaction with life’s more spiritual aspects.
The Carrington’s wellness team puts considerable emphasis on physical activity to enhance heart health. An extra-spacious wellness gym, with cardio and strength equipment, free weights for exercise, an indoor pool for aqua therapy, exercises and water aerobics, as well as massage rooms and locker rooms make it easy for both exercise and cool-down/relaxing activity. All these incredible amenities complement a progressive activity calendar designed to boost resident socialization and wellbeing.
#3: Laugh A Lot
As mentioned above, we’re all confronted with a considerable amount of stress today. Feeling like the world is closing in comes 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 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 The Carrington 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. And, thanks to the wonders of technology, The Carrington’s creative activities staff has managed to keep the bonds of friendship and laughter going—safely for all—through the recent months filled with COVID-19 mandates.
In addition, the availability of on-site care services at The Carrington provides residents a sensible strategy for life’s “what-ifs”—predictable, streamlined costs and convenient services—so they can feel prepared for the future. It’s easy to see why everyone’s HAPPY at The Carrington. Residents will be the first to tell you it’s easier to stay healthy when you’re happy, carefree, and laugh a lot!
#4: Snuggle With A Pet
Besides the obvious value of a good snuggle, there’s 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 wellbeing. Pets also provide social support, an important factor in sticking to healthy habits.
The Carrington is a pet-friendly, active community, and residents have patios or balconies to give furry friends their freedom. Beautiful winding trails provide for safe dog-walking throughout the scenic campus. The community and its residents understand the value of a heart-healthy bond between owners and their pets, so they are welcome members of The Carrington family!
#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, move your phone and other electronic devices away from your bed so as not to distract or awaken you with light or sound alerts during the night.
In addition to a good night’s sleep, don’t feel bad about catching a 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.
Heart Health Is Important For Everyone, Especially Seniors!
Never stop learning about how best to improve the function of that muscle that keeps you going. The American Heart Association and the National Institute on Aging have regular guidelines and helpful hints that will be great resources for meeting your goals. And, if you’re interested in learning more about The Carrington’s heart-healthy lifestyle, contact us today.