The life of a senior changes dramatically when they are diagnosed with heart failure. The condition can make it hard for them to do many of the things they once did. Often, they require help from family caregivers to do household tasks and eat the way they need to in order to manage the condition. Being a caregiver to an older adult with heart failure isn’t easy, though.
If you’re unsure of how to begin in your new role, below are some tips especially for caregivers of seniors with heart failure.
Learn More About Heart Failure
Many people don’t know a lot about what heart failure is. The term itself is frightening. It implies that the heart has stopped working. In reality, the heart just doesn’t pump blood throughout the body as effectively as it should. It is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure or a valve that isn’t working properly. The more you learn about heart failure, the better you’ll be at advocating for your aging relative’s care. Caregivers can find more information about the condition by asking the doctor for literature, conducting Internet research, and asking questions during the senior’s doctor appointments.
You May Need to Rearrange the House
Heart failure can sometimes require making some changes to the senior’s home. For example, if your older family member’s bedroom is on an upper floor of the house, you may need to move it to the main floor. Climbing steps can be very difficult with heart failure. If there is no bathroom on the floor where the bedroom is, consider purchasing a bedside commode for them to use during the night.
Keep an Eye on Symptoms
Caregivers need to help seniors monitor their symptoms. One of the things that needs to be checked regularly and recorded is weight. Weight gain can be an indicator that of fluid buildup. Remind your aging relative to weigh themselves at the same time each day and write down their weight.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
Don’t let the responsibilities of being a caregiver keep you from paying attention to your own health. It’s common for caregivers to not take the time to go to regular doctor appointments. They may also skip regular exercise because they feel like they don’t have time or are too tired. In addition, caregivers sometimes make healthy meals for the older adult, but fail to eat well themselves. Instead, they might grab fast food meals or rely on processed foods that are quick to prepare.