Hypertension affects older people disproportionately due to age-related physical factors such as arterial stiffness, diabetes, and kidney and heart disease. When other conditions are present – such as dementia, cognitive impairment, and polypharmacy, – treating hypertension gets more complicated.

Diet control remains a proven method for effectively combatting high blood pressure. Because of this, home care can play an essential role in getting older people with hypertension to adhere to new diet parameters and maximize their ability to remain healthy at home.

Diet and Hypertension: A Rocky Relationship

While the positive effects of a proper diet on high blood pressure have been known for some time, there can be a significant gap between knowing the right diet and sticking to it.

For example, the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), according to a 2016 study by the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, “has been demonstrated to be effective in managing blood pressure.”

However, the study continues, there are “significant challenges in maintaining adherence to the protocol.” One study “showed that only 52% of obese adults…were advised by their physician on healthy eating, and those who received no counseling were less likely to adopt healthy eating practices.” Yet when “lifestyle coaching by other professionals” was introduced, there was “improved adherence to the DASH diet.”

In the area of dietary compliance for hypertension patients, it seems verbal reinforcement and encouragement plays a critical role.

Hypertension diet compliance with and without counseling support

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78 percentage
vs.
33 percentage

Research has shown the importance of counseling and “lifestyle coaching” for patients with hypertension in adopting a healthy diet. In a 2016 study by the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, such measures resulted in a 40%+ greater likelihood of dietary compliance.

For older people, dietary counseling matters even more

A 2018 literature review in Current Opinion in Cardiology recognized the key role of counseling to achieve dietary discipline among older adults with hypertension.

“Adopting a diet rich in plant-based foods, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and sodium intake within normal limits can be effective in the prevention and management of [hypertension],” the report stated, adding that “these diets have been found to be more effective in older adults...particularly in studies that provided meals or frequent dietary counseling.” [Emphasis added]

At SeniorBridge, we believe that older people with high blood pressure are capable of controlling their health – as long as some support is present. To many healthcare professionals who are experienced with older patients this comes as no surprise; coaching is an important element of helping people navigate the difficulties of old age and achieve better health.

Obese hypertension patients who achieved weight loss goals

47%

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The Trial of Non-Pharmacologic Interventions in the Elderly (TONE) studied 975 patients with hypertension aged 60–80 years. Those involved in the study experienced “intervention sessions” for 90 days. Nearly half of obese participants with a weight loss target of approximately 10 lbs met their goals in 9 months. We at SeniorBridge believe that intervention delivered consistently by home care professionals can result in steady, sustainable weight control.

The integrated care management model by SeniorBridge

Home care services vary widely in the services they provide.

SeniorBridge offers an integrated care management practice model that involves two components:

  1. Clinical care (under the direction of an RNCM/Registered Nurse Care Manager) supported by a Social Worker and a team of caregivers, based on patient’s needs and
  2. A portfolio of home care services and geriatric care management in such areas as nutrition, caregiver education, benefit coordination, transportation, and coordination with discharge planners, physicians, pharmacy, home health agencies, and care managers.

NOTE: We have full COVID-19 safety protocols in place to keep clients, families and associates safe.

For more information on hypertension home care support services, contact

Sources consulted:
National Library of Medicine /NIH/Journal of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology {2016}
National Library of Medicine/NIH/Current Opinion in Cardiology {2018}
National Library of Medicine/NIH/Dovepress: Integrated Blood Pressure Control (2010)

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