The American Heart Association estimates more than 42 million seniors over the age of 60 have heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump blood efficiently throughout the body. Though heart failure is a chronic condition, medications, surgery, and lifestyle changes can help your aging loved one live a longer life. Here are some of the common signs of heart failure in older adults.
1. Swelling in the Feet, Ankles, & Legs
If the heart is no longer able to pump blood efficiently, it won’t bring extra fluid to the kidneys to be processed and removed from the body, causing the fluid to build up and swell under the skin. Though swelling throughout the body is common with heart failure, the feet, legs, and ankles usually swell the most. To check for swelling, gently push a finger into your loved one’s skin. If it leaves an indentation, the area is swollen.
2. Shortness of Breath
Congestive heart failure allows excess fluid to build up in the lungs and the abdominal cavity, which can make it difficult to breathe. Shortness of breath also occurs because the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen to the blood. In the beginning of the disease, shortness of breath may be pronounced during exercise. As the disease progresses, your loved one may experience shortness of breath while resting or sleeping.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Excess fluid in and around the lungs could make your loved one cough. When your loved one lies down at night, he or she may have a difficult time sleeping due to a dry cough. During the day, your loved one may have a wet cough that produces phlegm with a slight pink tint.
If the heart isn’t able to pump blood efficiently, the brain won’t get the oxygen it needs, which may result in lightheadedness or fainting. You may also notice your loved one has a rapid pulse as the heart attempts to provide enough blood for the body.
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Green Valley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Seniors with heart failure often experience extreme tiredness after light activities due to the lack of oxygen and the extra work the heart is doing. You may notice your loved one take a nap after going shopping or ask to be taken home early when going out to eat. Your loved one may begin going to bed earlier and waking up later because of this fatigue.
If your loved one no longer has an appetite or feels nauseated, it may be because of his or her heart. As fluid accumulates in the body, it presses on the vital organs, which may make your loved one feel full when he or she has eaten very little. Your loved one may also complain of abdominal pain or pressure.
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elder care. Green Valley Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at 520-625-2050 today.