More than 10 percent of adults 65 and older have heart failure, according to the National Institutes of Health. What this means is that the heart is no longer efficiently pumping blood throughout the body. There’s no cure for heart failure. Even so, there are some things you can do while providing care for a senior loved one with this problem to boost his or her quality of life and reduce risks.
Encourage Healthy Lifestyle Adjustments
With heart failure, one of the most common recommendations for care is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. If your loved one isn’t doing so already, encourage him or her to make heart-friendly changes that are also good for overall health and wellbeing.
Heart.org and the American Heart Association recommend the following lifestyle adjustments for optimal heart health:
• Shifting to a healthier diet
• Quitting smoking
• Getting regular exercise
• Limiting salt
Make Sure Medications Are Taken as Prescribed
Seniors with heart failure typically need to take multiple medications. When you factor in other medications your loved one may be taking for unrelated conditions, it can quickly become difficult to keep track of everything. Apps such as Medisafe, Adhere Tech, and Meds Agenda can be used to keep things organized with medication. Also, look out for signs of side effects or issues with drug interactions.
Provide Emotional Support
A diagnosis of heart failure is scary at any age. Offer as much emotional support as you can while providing care to reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, direct your loved one to other sources of emotional support. Some of these may include:
• Therapists or counselors
• Online or in-person support groups
• Other friends and family members
Be Diligent about Vaccines and Regular Doctor Appointments
Conditions like the seasonal flu and pneumonia can be especially serious for seniors already living with compromised cardiovascular systems. Reduce the risk of your loved one being exposed to illnesses of this nature by encouraging him or her to stay current with vaccines. Also, make sure your parent is going to routine doctor appointments as recommended.
Offer Assistance with More Demanding Household Tasks
When the heart is compromised in some way, excess physical exertion typically needs to be avoided. Help your loved one achieve this goal by lending a hand with yard work and more demanding household tasks. In-home caregivers can also play a role in easing physically demanding burdens.
If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care, a leading provider of elderly home care. Home Care provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Discuss Future Care Preferences in Advance
There could come a time when your loved one with heart failure may need end-of-life care or a level of care you’re not able to provide. Be as prepared as possible for what may be needed in the future by discussing your parent’s care preferences now. Granted, this may not be a pleasant conversation. However, you’ll have a better idea of what your loved one prefers should care arrangements need to change later on.
It can also be beneficial to discuss:
• Emergency care preferences
• Preferences for life-prolonging care
• Healthcare directives and other legal documents that ensure your loved one’s wishes are followed
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for your whole family. When researching agencies that provide home care service, Harrisburg, PA, families are usually looking for flexible care plans, compassionate and highly trained caregivers, and 24/7 availability. Whether you need respite care to take a break from your caregiving duties or your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, you can rely on Home Care. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (717) 540-4663.