Helping Hearts: Advantage Health Centers and the American Heart Association

AHA Heart Walk 1

The Centers for Disease Control reports that heart disease is currently the deadliest disease facing the U.S., taking the lives of 610,000 Americans per year – that’s one in four deaths.  It changes the lives of men, women and children across Michigan and the country including some of those at Advantage Living Center facilities. Some of our residents suffer from heart disease and the effects of stroke, a condition our staff is knowledgeable on

Advantage Living Centers became involved with the American Heart Association for two reasons.

First, we wanted to create a healthier environment for our staff and residents, particularly one that focused on making healthy food choices and increased exercise. The American Heart Association supported us with their Healthy Food and Beverage Toolkit. This was a great resource for our staff along with residents and their families looking to make heart health a priority.

Second, we serve many residents during short and long term stays, who have cardiac and related conditions and we wanted to be involved in educating both them and the public on how to prevent heart disease. Our staff has become more educated on how to prevent and treat cardiac disease as well as the early warning signs and symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks. Many of our facilities have cardiologists who come to our facilities 2-3 times per month to treat our residents and our therapists are skilled in post stroke care. These therapists and cardiologists work closely with each other to help residents recover after cardiac events such as heart attack and congestive heart failure.

4 years ago, Reggie and I became involved in American Heart Association’s Executive Leadership Team and board members for the Heart Walk.  Our staff, residents and supporters actively fundraised within the Advantage Living Centers communities with Reggie as the local spokesperson for the 2016 Detroit Heart Walk while Kelsey became a board member on the Southeastern Michigan American Heart Association. In July 2017, she will assume the role of President of the board.

In our time working with the American Heart Association, our facility teams have started Art for the Heart, which has become a national painting program for individuals with heart disease or stroke and have raised funds and participated in the Detroit Heart Walk with our Heart Mascot annually. 

It’s incredibly important for us to remember to take care of our hearts, not only now but throughout our lives. The major contributing factors of heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, with 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors.

Advantage Living Centers’ goal is to help heal hearts: the physical heart through our physicians, nurses and therapists and the emotional heart through every individual who touches the lives of the people who stay with us short and long term.  Our mission focuses on improving health and well being and to help people realize their potential in their future.


Kelsey Hastings, co-owner