Signs of Poor Circulation in Older Adults
The circulatory system is responsible for moving blood throughout the body to supply oxygen to organs and tissues. Sometimes, an older adult’s circulatory system doesn’t work as well as it should, which can lead to serious problems. Knowing the causes and symptoms of poor circulation can ensure your aging relative receives the medical attention they need.

What Causes Poor Circulation?

Circulation problems can be caused by a variety of underlying medical conditions. Some things that can cause poor circulation are:
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): PAD makes blood vessels narrower, making it harder for blood to flow through them. 
  • Blood Clots: A blood clot can happen anywhere in the body, blocking the flow of blood.
  • Varicose Veins: Varicose veins happen because of a problem with valves. They are the blue, ropy looking veins that most often appear on legs. The valve problems damage the veins, so they don’t transport blood as efficiently.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can also affect blood flow.
  • Obesity: Excess weight makes body systems work harder, including the circulatory system.
What Are the Signs?

It can be hard to tell when a senior has poor circulation. Sometimes the symptoms aren’t obvious. When symptoms are apparent, they may include:
  • Numbness and Tingling: When parts of the body aren’t getting enough blood, the senior may experience a “pins and needles” feeling. Most often, the feeling occurs in the body’s extremities.
  • Chilly Feet or Hands: Low blood flow can cause changes in body temperature, which present as noticeably colder feet or hands.
  • Swelling: When circulation is poor, fluids may build up in the senior’s feet, ankles, or legs. 
  • Cognitive Issues: When the brain doesn’t receive enough blood, it can cause problems with memory and thinking.
How Can Senior Care Help Older Adults Improve Circulation?

If you notice signs of circulatory problems in your aging relative, it’s important that they receive medical attention and follow the doctor’s advice. In addition to seeing a doctor, some other things that can help improve circulation are:
  • Quit Smoking: The nicotine in cigarettes damages blood vessels.
  • Treat High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure makes arteries stiffer and less flexible.
  • Stay Hydrated: Around 50 percent of blood is made up of water, so staying hydrated can help blood flow.
  • Stand More: Sitting too much can impede blood flow.
  • Exercise: Exercise can improve overall health and gets blood pumping through the body.
Senior care providers can help older adults to use all these tips to improve circulation. Senior care providers can remind your aging relative to take medications to treat circulatory problems and high blood pressure. A senior care provider can also offer water throughout the day. If your family member is trying to quit smoking, senior care can be a source of encouragement and a distraction from urges to smoke. Finally, senior care can help older adults to be more active by going for walks with them, driving them to exercise classes, or monitor them while they exercise at home.


If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Holladay, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility. Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.

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