Seniors living with CHF, congestive heart failure, may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling, irregular heartbeat, or other symptoms as their heart struggles to pump effectively. These symptoms can make it difficult for seniors to perform activities of daily living in addition to enjoying recreational activities. But that doesn’t mean seniors with CHF can’t have fun! There are plenty of activities that won’t exacerbate conditions. In this post we will review some of the best activities for seniors with CHF.
Seniors with CHF were historically told not to participate in any exercise. However, researchers have shown that exercise can be beneficial to seniors with CHF. It can help reduce hospital readmissions, keep muscles toned, manage weight, and boost mood. Seniors with CHF should check with their doctor before performing exercises just to make sure they will be safe.
Some light exercises that seniors with CHF can do may include the following:
- Resistance training
- Walking or jogging
- Swimming or water aerobics
You should stop exercising if you become very tired or struggle to catch your breath. If you notice irregular heartbeats, you should also stop exercising. Chest pain or pain in the rest of your body could also be a red flag while exercising.
Whenever you exercise, remember to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. While seniors with CHF suffer fluid retention, it's still important to replenish fluid lost as sweat and keep the body properly hydrated.
Seniors with CHF should also include a warm up and cool down period before and after their workout to help the heart transition between regular activity and elevated activity. You may also want to consider exercising indoors if it is too hot or humid outside.
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Golf is a fun sport that individuals of all ages can enjoy. This sport is competitive and tests your physical and strategic abilities. If you enjoy golfing, you can continue this hobby even with a CHF diagnosis. However, you may want to go to a driving range, so you can sit down easily if you get fatigued.
If you are golfing on a golf course, use a golf cart to get around instead of relying on walking. Golf courses often feature sloping terrain, which makes the course a challenge and also puts strain on your body if you are walking between the holes. Using a golf cart can help you maintain your energy for the game and help you get through all 18 holes.
Another activity that seniors with CHF can enjoy is fishing. This activity involves long periods of sitting, which can help you avoid getting short of breath or fatigued too quickly. While it may require physical exertion to land your catch, you can go on a trip with friends and family members who can help you. Or you can reel in your catch and then take a break to recover.
Fishing can be fun and help you get outdoors. Mastering the outdoors can also help you feel confident and boost your self-esteem. Plus, you can enjoy the delicious taste of your success.
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Gardening is a great way for seniors to pass the time. It can be fulfilling as you see your plants thrive. However, seniors with CHF may need to make some modifications to their gardening habits. Instead of trying to manage large gardens alone, seniors with CHF can scale down their garden and simplify their plants to make the activity more enjoyable. Seniors may also want to consider an indoor garden or just having a few indoor plants to take care of.
However, seniors with CHF should avoid demanding tasks of caring for their yard, like digging, mowing, hedging, or other activities that require large amounts of physical exertion.
Just because a senior with CHF may experience physical limitations, that doesn’t mean their mind is affected. Seniors who may struggle with physical activities can turn to mental stimulation instead. Memory games are a great way to pass the time and exercise the mind.
Games can also be fun to play with friends to add an element of competition and social engagement. Seniors can play games with friends, family members, or even their caregivers. To get some ideas on memory games, check out our favorites in this blog post: Top 5 Memory Games for Senior Adults.
Seniors with CHF can also enjoy a good movie. A quality storyline has the ability to transport anyone into a different time or a different world, making movies a great way to pass the time and forget about symptoms for a few hours.
If you feel comfortable, you can also go to a movie theater and enjoy the full experience of a new release. Seniors can host a movie night with their friends or just watch one by themselves within the comfort of their own home. They are cheap and easy to watch — especially with all of the online platforms to stream movies from all genres and decades. You can also make some of your favorite snacks to enjoy during the movie.
If you are looking for a good movie to watch, check out our list of the top movies for seniors.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of activities that seniors with CHF can still do — even if they have to perform them a little bit slower or in a modified way. If you or a loved one suffers from CHF, don’t be afraid to ask for help to enjoy these activities.
At Caring Senior Service, we know the unique challenges that seniors with CHF face. That’s why we’ve developed a specialized care program for seniors with this condition. It includes tailored caregiver training and care plans to help seniors with CHF manage their condition. To learn more about how our caregivers can help seniors with CHF maintain their quality of life and perform activities they enjoy, reach out to a Caring team near you.