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The Importance of Home Care for Seniors with CHF

By Ruby Cemental

Approximately 5.7 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure (CHF). This condition is the result of fluid buildup around the heart, which prevents it from pumping effectively. Unfortunately, there is no cure for CHF, so seniors with this condition must learn to manage their symptoms. But with proper care, treatment, and management seniors with CHF can maintain a high quality of life. One of the chief ways to help ensure this is through home care.  

Focus on a Healthy Lifestyle 

One of the key components to long-term at home success for a seniors with CHF to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes exercise and a healthy diet. Many seniors with CHF will have sodium and fluid restrictions they should adhere to. However, it can be challenging for some to know what to cook — especially if they’ve had the same eating habits for decades. It can be easy for anyone to start implementing healthy habits and then quickly fall back into old patterns.  

A professional caregiver can give seniors with CHF the support they need to make those changes. Caregivers can help menu plan, go grocery shopping, and even prepare meals that adhere to a senior’s diet. They can also help monitor fluid intake to ensure that a senior with CHF isn’t drinking too much throughout the day. 

Plus, a caregiver can motivate a senior with CHF to exercise. While exercise can be more difficult due to CHF, it is still an important part of managing the condition. A caregiver’s support and encouragement can help get seniors with CHF moving.  

Assist with Tasks of Daily Living 

A senior with CHF may struggle to do simple tasks because of fatigue or shortness of breath. Things like putting the dishes away or folding laundry might seem like monumental tasks. As a result, the to-do list can pile up.  

A caregiver can help seniors complete tasks with a little assistance. They can help tidy the house, do laundry, run errands, and more. Plus, caregivers are also trained to assist with personal care, like grooming, brushing teeth, and showering, so that a senior can get back to their regular routine. 

Encourage Rest 

Seniors with CHF need to rest often to avoid putting too much strain on their heart and lungs. In the early stages of CHF, a senior may not want to rest and instead insist on pushing through their symptoms. A caregiver can help seniors recognize when their body needs to rest. They can also help a senior be patient with themselves as they learn to navigate the new challenges that CHF can bring.  

Combat Depression 

In many cases, seniors with CHF may experience bouts of depression and feelings of isolation. This could be due to loneliness or to a senior’s inability to perform the tasks they used to do quite easily. CHF can cause seniors to lose independence, and with that can come a loss of motivation, loss of interest in socializing, and a loss of happiness.  

Caregivers can provide companionship and meaningful social engagement so that seniors with CHF can combat feelings of depression or isolation. They can plan activities that seniors with CHF can enjoy.  

Manage Medication 

Part of managing CHF is medication. A senior may be prescribed heart medications that help control the heart rate and blood pressure. They might also take diuretics to help the body get rid of excess fluid. It’s important that seniors with CHF manage their medications properly, but when the prescriptions start to pile up, this can become challenging or confusing.  

A caregiver can help provide medication reminders and help seniors create a system for taking their medications at the right time and the right dosage. This helps ensure that seniors are following through on the doctor’s orders. 

Observe Changes in Wellbeing 

Seniors with CHF may experience many changes in their body throughout the day. While some are normal, others may be an indication that something is wrong and that the senior needs medical attention.  

While a senior is with a caregiver, they can provide a set of watchful eyes to help put the senior and their family members at ease. A caregiver can watch for warning signs like: 

  • Weight gain 
  • Swelling in extremities 
  • Dizziness 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Fatigue 

At Caring Senior Service, our Tendio Family Portal makes it easy for our caregivers to note these changes in a senior’s portal so that family members, other caregivers, and a senior’s healthcare team can stay informed.  

Minimize Discomfort 

As heart failure progresses, a senior may become more and more uncomfortable, until they may not even be able to find relief when resting or sitting down. A caregiver can help a senior who is struggling to get comfortable by helping them adjust positions, putting their feet up, or getting pillows or blankets. This can help a senior find some relief as they face the symptoms of CHF.  

Prevent Illness 

A senior with CHF is susceptible to infections because of a weakened immune system. Infections, which may seem as harmless as the common cold, can quickly turn into a serious condition for seniors with CHF.  

Caregivers can help prevent illness by encouraging frequent handwashing and sanitizing of the care environment. At Caring Senior Service, our caregivers are also specially trained to prevent the spread of illness and assist seniors who are immuno-compromised. 

 

If you or a loved one could benefit from in-home care to help manage CHF, Caring Senior Service can help. Our caregivers have the experience, compassion, and training necessary for comprehensive home care. To learn more about the services we provide, contact a Caring Senior Service location near you. 

Refer Care for Patients and Family ButtonRuby Cemental Blog Author

Tags: Senior Health, Home Care