Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms experienced by the approximately five million people throughout the United States who are currently living with heart failure. This fatigue is described as lack of energy or tiredness that occurs throughout the day, that occurs in response to normal activity, or that prevents your parent from being able to handle normal daily activity.
This fatigue occurs as a result of the heart not being able to pump enough blood throughout the body. When this happens, the tissues do not receive the oxygen and other nutrients that they need to thrive and to function, which means that the body must distribute these in the way that would be most important to ongoing function of the major organs and systems.
This can be a challenging experience for your parent and negatively impact their quality of life and daily lifestyle. Fortunately there are ways that you can help them to cope with this fatigue and maintain their quality of life as they age in place and manage their condition.
Use these tips to help your senior living with heart failure cope with fatigue:
- Be aware of the effects of medication. Some medications prescribed for heart failure can lead to further fatigue. By knowing this your parent can be more prepared for the fatigue and understand that it is a side effect and not an indication of their abilities.
- Acknowledge what they are feeling and experiencing, and let them know that they are not being dramatic by feeling this fatigue. Many elderly adults struggle with the feeling that they are being whiney or that they are overreacting. This can have mental and emotional health consequences that can further their experience of the fatigue. By showing them support and encouragement, you can reduce this feeling and boost their overall quality of life.
- Encourage them to eat a healthy diet and drink enough fluids. This will support their body’s function and reduce impact of fatigue by ensuring that there is a maximum amount of nutrients to spread around the body.
- Consider starting home health care so that a care provider can help your parent with daily tasks such as housekeeping, taking out the trash, running errands, and even caring for themselves to reduce the amount of energy that they expend.
- Encourage your parent to eat throughout the day and emphasize protein for strength and energy.
If you are concerned that your aging parent has needs and challenges that you are unable to meet effectively, your schedule or limitations have changed and altered your ability to give your senior the care that they need, or you simply feel that your parent could benefit from additional support, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home health care for them. A home health care services provider can step in to fill care gaps and meet needs that you are uncomfortable or unable to manage yourself.
This can not only ease your caregiver stress, but can also ease stress and anxiety for your aging parent. Through the personalized services of a care provider your parent can remain healthy, happy, safe, and comfortable, and pursue a more active and independent lifestyle as they age in place. This can support a better lifestyle and stronger relationship for your both of you.