BY:  Evelyn Fiumara
Community Liaison Elder Connections

My Story

It was my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary luncheon, and forty of us were anxiously awaiting their arrival.   There was one problem, the guests of honor still had not yet arrived.   My sister called to say that Mom was complaining of fatigue, shortness of breath and bloating.  She appeared swollen and puffy.

Two days later, my mother found herself in the hospital ER.  She was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure.  Fortunately, early response was critical for survival and better senior care for my mother.

4 Warnings of Congestive Heart Failure

1.  Swelling – known as edema in the legs and ankles.  It can also collect in the lungs and interfere with breathing, causing shortness of breath.

2.  Fatigue – unable to exert yourself and tires easily.

3.  High Blood Pressure– was my mother’s culprit.  Other causes include:  coronary artery disease, previous heat attack, congenital heart defect, and infections of the heart and heart muscles known as myocarditis.

4.  Waking in the middle of the night and unable to catch your breath.  People with CHF usually need to sleep on 2-3 pillows so the head and neck can be elevated for better blood flow.

Mom’s Heart Tips for Seniors with Congestive Heart Failure

1.  Get regular medical and cardiology checkups

2.  Follow a salt-restricted diet

3.  Limit excessive fluid consumption.

4.  Daily walks either outdoors or using a treadmill.

5.  Try to keep stress to a minimum.

6.  Trust your instincts.  Most of the time they’ll lead you in the right direction for better senior care.