If your parent has been diagnosed with having congestive heart failure, she might be worried about what she can physically do and cannot do anymore. With her heart working hard to pump blood through her body, certain activities may have proven to be too physical or exhausting for her. But your parent doesn’t need to stay at home all day, resting in her favorite chair, and reading a book. She can still live an active lifestyle so long as she manages her congestive heart failure wisely and takes the necessary precautions along the way. Here are some great tips on how she can improve her quality of life while living with congestive heart failure.
- Exercise Regularly. While at first this may seem a bit daunting, regular exercise will help her feel better and improve her strength. Talk to your parent’s doctor about what kind of activity he recommends and then commit to making an effort to do those activities regularly. It may be a daily walk or if your parent has access to it, a daily swim. The important thing is to take it easy and rest if needed. Having someone with her, like yourself or a senior care provider, can help her be more comfortable knowing she has support nearby.
- Eat well. Your parent’s sodium intake should be reduced to help alleviate the fluid retention that often comes with congestive heart failure. It may be she’ll need to learn a new way to shop and purchase her weekly food supplies by avoiding overly processed foods. Adding foods high in fiber and low in saturated fat will also help her heart.
- Take it slow. Your parent should plan for rests throughout her day, and especially if she has something physical to do. There will be activities she’ll need to avoid completely, such as pushing or pulling heavy objects. If you live somewhere where winters have lots of snow, make sure you have someone like a senior care provider or even a neighbor available to help with all shoveling. In the summer, the same can be said with having someone lined up to help with mowing the lawn if your parent is still living in her own home.
- Practice safe living. Your parent will want to avoid getting any type of respiratory infection, such as the flu, pneumonia, or Covid-19. Make sure she stays on top of getting her vaccinations and then takes proper precautions when heading out into the public. While many people are no longer wearing facemasks, your parent may want to consider continuing to wear hers even if she’s vaccinated, especially in crowded indoor public places.
- Take prescribed medications as indicated. Helping your parent stay on track with taking her recommended medications as prescribed will help her keep symptoms of the disease from getting worse or interfering with daily life. If there are any side effects she doesn’t like, don’t have her stop taking them without her doctor’s approval and guidance.
Living with congestive heart failure may take a bit of planning and adjustment but your parent can still enjoy many of life’s pleasures while living with the disease.