February is American Heart Month, an observance to raise awareness about heart disease and how it can be prevented — both at home and in the community. According to The American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death of women and men in the United States — with 1 in 4 deaths caused by heart disease.
And 80% of people who die of coronary heart disease are age 65 or older. Given how pervasive this concern is among those senior care organizations serve, it’s an excellent topic for your content this month.
Content Tips for Any Senior Care Company
- Discuss the facts associated with heart disease, including identifying different cardiovascular diseases (coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, etc.), early warning signs of heart disease, ways to prevent it, and what to do post diagnosis.
- Motivate and excite your audience about heart health — give simple, practical actions they can take to prevent heart disease or to slow the progression of heart failure.
- Take advantage of the social media messages and e-cards the National Health Information Center has compiled to help get the word out.
- Interview a local cardiologist and/or geriatrician to include their insights and tips. You may also find esteemed experts at local nonprofits or special treatment facilities in your area — such as the American College of Cardiology in Washington DC, the California Health and Longevity Institute in Los Angeles, or one of the 16 centers of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.
- Consider covering this story from a medication management angle. Family caregivers often help their aging parents with medication management and your content can provide helpful guidance to them. Interview an expert (cardiologist, geriatrician, and/or pharmacist) to get their recommendations for individuals who are taking cholesterol-modifying medications, beta blockers, nitroglycerin, and ACE inhibitors and ARBs — such as side effects and tips to avoid them, as well as reminders about mixing these drugs with others. Or maybe do a product review article on common blood pressure monitors — having your residents as the product testers giving the feedback.
Content Tips for Senior Living Communities
- Some foods and drinks are suggested for promoting heart health. Consider highlighting those in your dining menu this month, and/or share a related recipe on your blog or social profiles (particularly Facebook and Pinterest).
- Regular physical activity helps prevent heart disease. While any heart patient should consult his/her physician before beginning an exercise program, you can still highlight the exercise classes or activities your community offers and encourage participation to support your residents’ heart health.
Content Tips for Home Care Agencies
- Are your caregivers trained to look for the early warning signs of heart disease, and/or providing meal preparation services that include helping the senior with heart healthy nutrition? If so, highlight that expertise this month.
- For home health agencies: Include in your content how your staff help older adults with their heart disease treatment and/or heart health regimens.
Resources to Support this Spark
- The American Heart Association – American Heart Month kit on Heathfinder.gov
- American College of Cardiology — Heart Disease Statistics
- The American Heart Association — Older Adults & Cardiovascular Disease
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