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Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on August 8th, 2012

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Everyday Healthy Heart Tips

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As we age, heart disease becomes a clear fact of life that has to be dealt with. Whether your parent is living with heart disease or not, having a heart-healthy lifestyle is valuable.

Retirement living doesn't have to mean sitting around being bored all day; on the contrary, it can be a vibrant and lively time of life with the right habits. Encourage your parent to stick with these healthy living tips.

Keep the Weight Down

Excess weight causes a strain on the heart, and seniors are just as susceptible to weight gain as anyone else. Having a few extra pounds isn't a necessary part of growing older. Encourage your parent to eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while avoiding fats and sweets.


While some seniors do run marathons, everyone can practice some form of physical exercise each day. If they're mobile, urge your parent to go on daily walks. Wheelchair or bedridden people can still take part by lifting weights while they sit or lay down. Exercising your body increases the heart rate, making for a stronger heart.

Avoid Sodium

Your parent's cardiologist may have advised them to avoid sodium, but that means more than cutting down on using the salt shaker. Begin reading food labels and make sure your parent does the same. Some foods that are popular with seniors, such as canned soups and frozen meals, contain a surprisingly high amount of sodium per serving. Investigate alternate ways to flavor foods like spice blends or citrus juice to help break the salt habit.

Eat Healthy Fats

While eating a lower-fat diet is generally good for your heart, everyone needs a certain amount of good fats to keep their body healthy. Make healthy fats a regular part of your parent's diet. Use mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches. Dip bread in olive oil and herbs instead of slathering it with butter.

Key Takeaways:

Small changes can mean big results when you practice them every day. Keep these tips in mind when it comes to heart-healthy living:

  • Lose excess weight
  • Exercise
  • Avoid sodium
  • Eat healthy fats

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About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.