Recognizing risk factors in your aging parent is one of the best steps you can take as a family caregiver to help them take control of their health, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle as they age in place. One of the best things they can do is to reduce high cholesterol.
Understanding the individual risks your senior has enables you to take steps to reduce those risks, but also to prepare yourself and your parent for the care that may become necessary if your senior develops health problems. If your senior is at increased risk for high blood cholesterol, they are also at increased risk for a variety of other serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke. Making reducing this risk a focus of your care approach will protect your parent from serious problems throughout their later years.
Use these tips on how to reduce high cholesterol in your aging parent:
Help Them Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Obesity is a leading risk factor for high blood cholesterol, as well as for the associated complications. This means having extra weight on their body can pose serious harm. If your aging parent is overweight, talk to their doctor, and create a plan to help them lose the extra pounds safely and healthily. This is particularly important if your senior also has a large waist circumference, which is another risk factor.
Encourage a Healthy Diet
What your parent eats can make a tremendous difference in their health, and particularly in their blood cholesterol levels. A diet high in animal fats, saturated fats, and trans fats can greatly increase the risk your senior will experience high blood cholesterol. Help them to reduce these fats in their diet, and increase healthy options including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources.
Use of tobacco products dramatically increases the risk for a wide variety of health problems, including high blood cholesterol. Smoking damages blood vessels, which makes it harder for the body to properly process cholesterol, and increases the risk for serious complications. If your senior smokes, talk to their doctor to find healthy and safe ways to help them quit. Every day your parent does not smoke is a step toward better health.
If you have been looking for ways to help your parent maintain better health as they age, home health solutions may be right for you. Making an in-home senior care services provider, an element of your regular care approach for your parent can help them to enjoy a higher quality of life while also supporting better health, greater independence, and a more active lifestyle throughout their later years.
For you as their family caregiver, this can ease your stress and help you to feel less overwhelmed, while also giving you the flexibility to focus on the other aspects of your life, and those who rely on you.