When you hear that your aging parent is living with heart failure, it is easy to think that your parent will only be experiencing symptoms related to their cardiovascular system that you can readily identify, such as increased heart rate. As a family caregiver, however, it is important to recognize that there are more symptoms that your parent can experience and that some of these may seem strange. Knowing that they are related to the heart failure can help you to better understand what your parent is facing and enable you to improve your care efforts to help them manage this as well as possible.
One such symptom is a loss of appetite. This occurs because the heart does not send as much blood to the digestive system, making it more difficult for the body to digest and can lead to reduced appetite and feelings of nausea.
Use these tips to help your senior with heart failure cope with a loss of appetite:
-Talk to your parent’s doctor about whether this effect might be worsened by their medication. If so, the doctor might be able to prescribe a different medication or offer suggestions for how to counteract the effects
-Emphasize protein whenever possible. This is an essential nutrient and critical for energy and wound healing, both of which are very important for elderly adults, especially those coping with serious medical issues
-Try to offer your parent small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals. Just a few bites of high-nutrition food at intervals throughout the day might be easier for your parent
-Try natural means of controlling nausea such as peppermint to ease feelings of stomach upset so that they may be more receptive to eating
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 care for them.
An in-home senior 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 the both of you.