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Queen Latifah’s Inspiring Experience as Family Caregiver

By Erik Gans, 9:00 am on

Actress Queen Latifah learned firsthand what it meant to be a family caregiver when her mother fell ill more than a decade ago. Her caregiving duties inspired her to work with the American Heart Association and raise awareness about the organization’s Red Steps Challenge campaign. 

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Westport Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Rita Owens, Latifah’s mother, was a teacher at a local New Jersey high school. One day at work, she suddenly lost consciousness and was diagnosed with heart failure. Latifah rushed to her mother’s side and decided to be her caregiver. Upon being dismissed from the hospital, Owens accompanied Latifah back to Los Angeles to begin her recovery process. 

Owens also lives with scleroderma, an autoimmune disorder that interferes with the ability to breathe. In addition to needing routine medication and a surgically implanted defibrillator, Owens was instructed to eat a healthier diet consisting of lean meats, vegetables, and fruits. Physicians also recommended certain types of physical exercise. 

Once she regained her health, Owens returned to her home in New Jersey. Family members, friends, and a team of healthcare providers monitor her health and assist with her needs under Queen Latifah’s supervision. Managing her mother’s illness made the actress more aware about the need to ensure her own health and wellbeing.

About the Red Steps Challenge

Walking is one of the many low-impact exercises recommended for seniors with heart disease. Exercise enhances blood circulation and strengthens the heart. The Red Steps Challenge encourages seniors to walk. Participants are asked to wear red socks for the walk and encouraged to take pictures of their socks and upload the images to the American Heart Association along with their personal stories.

Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Westport live-in home care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.  

Heart Disease Statistics

Nearly four million Americans are hospitalized every year due to cardiovascular health conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 610,000 people in the United States die from heart disease and nearly 735,000 people experience heart attacks every year. More than half of all the fatalities occur because of coronary heart disease, which remains one of the leading causes of death for men and women. 

Surveys indicate nearly half of all adults have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or the habit of smoking, which makes them susceptible to heart disease. However, quitting cigarettes, getting routine physical examinations, and managing hypertension and cholesterol can reduce the probability of developing heart disease.

According to the latest research, heart disease and Alzheimer’s may be correlated. Cardiovascular disease can cause impaired blood flow, which might adversely affect mental health and accelerate cognitive decline. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s home care. Westport, CT, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. To learn about our high-quality live-in, respite, dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other care plans, give us a call at 203-955-1915 today.