Improving circulation in older adults.
It is common to find that older adults have blood circulation problems.
This can be uncomfortable for your older loved one. And in extreme cases, it can cause the tissue at the extremities such as the hands and feet to die.
How do you know your elderly loved one has circulation problems?
You will notice that their hands and feet are cold, pale and the skin in this area will be unusually dry.
In addition to that, your loved one may complain of tingling, numbness, pain and muscle cramps in their hands and feet.
As a caregiver, recognizing poor circulation problems and working to improve circulation could save your loved one’s life.
In this post, we will go over 8 tips for improving blood circulation in older adults.
8 tips for improving blood circulation in older adults
This does not have to be vigorous exercise. 30 minutes of walking outside each day can do wonders for a person’s circulation!
When we walk, the muscles in our arms and legs move. These movements encourage movement of blood along blood vessels.
Thus, with a simple 30 minute walk daily, you will be encouraging blood movement to parts of the body farthest from the heart like the fingers and toes.
Any opportunity to stand up and walk will improve blood circulation.
RANGE OF MOTION EXERCISES
If your loved one has limited mobility, you can help them with range of motion exercises.
This will involve you moving your loved one’s limbs through different angles.
I recommend you work with your doctor to come up with the appropriate range of motion exercises for your loved one.
The idea however remains the same: movement of the muscles will encourage blood flow through blood vessels and thus improve circulation.
PRESCRIBED COMPRESSION STOCKINGS AND SOCKS
If your loved one has prescribed stockings/socks to help with blood flow, encourage them to put them on.
Not only will these keep the feet of your loved one warm, it will improve blood flow especially when they are sitting in one spot.
It is also important to continue to control and properly manage any chronic health issues your loved one has.
Uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes for instance will cause poor blood circulation and ultimately necrosis (death) of tissue in the toes particularly.
Because blood carries oxygen to our body parts, a lack of oxygen due to poor circulation causes this kind of tissue death.
Controlling blood sugar levels, eating healthy and making sure your loved one receives proper toe and nail care will all improve blood circulation.
CUT OUT TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL
Tobacco and alcohol both cause heart disease and can worsen blood circulation.
It may be time to talk to your loved one about quitting tobacco and alcohol.
DRINK MORE WATER
And this is especially true in the hotter months – stay hydrated!
EAT A BALANCED DIET
Encourage your loved one to eat meals that are balanced nutrient-wise.
Foods that are high in sodium are notorious for causing heart and circulation problems.
Consuming the right nutrients alongside the other points discussed here will help your loved one improve their circulation.
Massage therapy helps tremendously when it comes to improving circulation.
A 5 minute massage of the arms and legs not only feels good, it will get blood flowing easier.