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How to Improve Blood Circulation in Old Age

A zoomed in picture of legs that are walking

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 23, 2020

Bad leg circulation in the elderly is a common health issue as their body ages. Learn how to improve blood circulation in old age.


Have you ever been to your loved one’s home and thought it was rather warm? Older adults commonly feel colder than others, especially in their hands and feet. Knowing how to improve blood circulation in old age is helpful to know as a caregiver or an aging adult.

Some older adults even complain about their hands and feet swelling, as well as being cold. All of these are telling signs that they may have poor blood circulation.

Let’s review some practical steps to learn how to improve blood circulation in old age.


Signs of Bad Circulation

Our circulatory system delivers blood, carrying vital nutrients and oxygen, throughout our bodies. When blood flow is reduced, common side effects begin to show.

Poor circulation can be a result of old age or signal other health-related issues, such as obesity and diabetes. If you are wondering, “how does poor circulation affect the body?” read the signs below.


1. Cold hands and feet

When an elderly adult’s blood is not properly circulating, the temperature of their extremities tends to fluctuate. The blood vessels in those areas constrict in efforts to retain body heat, which results in cold hands and feet.


2. Discoloration

Typically, if someone has cold hands and feet, discoloration is present. Certain parts of the body turn blue and purple when blood is not reaching those areas. The discoloration is normally seen in the nose, lips, and extremities.


3. Numbness and Tingling in the Hands and Feet

Nerve endings are negatively impacted due to poor circulation, causing numbness and tingling. This symptom is commonly referred to as having a sensation of pins and needles poking under the skin. 


4. Swelling in the Feet, Ankles, and Legs

Poor circulation can create a build-up of fluid in key areas of the body. If swelling occurs in the lower extremities, this can also be a sign of edema


How to Improve Circulation in the Legs and Feet Naturally

Improving blood circulation in the legs and feet is very important for aging adults to prevent life-threating side effects. Natural remedies for better circulation are great options for older adults. 

Consider adding in some or all of the following tips to your daily regime to improve circulation.


Exercise Your Body

Anyone who is not very active may experience poor circulation as the Vein Clinics of America points out. Walking, stretching, and generally moving your body is an easy first step to improving circulation. 

When your heart rate increases, your body pumps blood faster throughout your body, thereby improving circulation. Simple things like walking outside to get the mail or taking a stroll around the neighborhood are good places to start.


Elevate Your Legs

Some older adults are less mobile than others and walking may be too difficult or physically impossible. Low activity levels mean our hearts have to work double-time to circulate blood to the outermost parts of the body. Small adjustments, like elevation, can be a very helpful remedy.

To assist your body’s circulatory system, elevate your legs at a 45-degree angle using a firm pillow. Start elevating your legs while sitting at home, watching TV, reading a book, or even sleeping. This also helps fight against blood clots from forming in the legs. 


Wear Compression Socks

If you are wondering how to increase circulation in feet, start with socks. The best socks for seniors with poor circulation are called compression stockings. These are essentially snug, calf-high socks that gently squeeze your legs and feet to stimulate blood flow back to your heart.

Compression stockings can be purchased from suppliers like or For Your Legs. These socks are also great for those who suffer from varicose veins. Please keep in mind, it’s always best to talk with your physician before making any changes to care.


Change Your Diet

The classic culprits of nutritional health are foods high in sugar, sodium, dairy products, and trans fat. The American Heart Association is a great resource for those who want to eat a heart-healthy diet. 

Choose foods that promote blood flow by following Healthline’s 14 best foods to increase circulation:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pomegranate
  • Onion
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Fatty fish
  • Beets
  • Tumeric
  • Leafy greens
  • Citrus fruits
  • Walnuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Berries
  • Ginger

Blood Circulation Self-Assessment

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you think you may have poor circulation. Consider the following signs if you suspect you or a loved one has poor circulation:

  • Do my hands and feet often feel very cold?
  • Are my fingers, toes, ears, nose discolored (purple, blue, extra red)?
  • Do my extremities feel numb or tingly more often than not?

This is not an official assessment. Use the tips above now that you know how to improve circulation in the legs and feet naturally or contact your doctor.


Call Commonwise Home Care Today

At Commonwise, we are familiar with all sorts of physical ailments and conditions such as poor circulation in the elderly. Our caregivers are familiar with how to improve blood circulation in old age and help patients live as comfortably as possible.

Commonwise caregivers provide care management, personal care services, and other home care services. We aim to support families and compassionately care for your loved ones like they are our own. To learn more about the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.