What Are the Signs of End-stage Heart Failure?
People with heart failure reach the different stages at different speeds. There’s no way to know how quickly your elderly family member will reach end-stage heart failure for certain. What you can do for her instead is to work with her medical team to understand where she is now and what the signs of end-stage heart failure will look like for her. Some of these symptoms are likely to be ones that she’ll experience.
Decreased Daily Functioning
Your elderly family member’s ability to function in her daily life is likely already significantly impacted by heart failure. But as her condition worsens and she reaches the end-stage of heart failure, it’s possible that her ability to function starts to decline even more dramatically. Your elderly family member may need a lot more help than she has needed in the past, even with simple daily tasks. End-of-life care can be there to help your elderly family member manage those tasks on a daily basis.
Increasing Chest Pain
Another symptom that your senior likely already had to manage is chest pain. As heart failure worsens, chest pain is likely to increase quite a lot. That pain can affect her ability to breathe easily as well, making daily life feel like a much bigger challenge. Depending on what is causing the pain, your elderly family member’s medical providers may recommend medications or even supplemental oxygen.
Your elderly family member’s body is working extremely hard to keep itself functioning at all. That means that every bit of energy she has is going toward just existing, much less completing activities or meeting goals. That might mean that your senior is experiencing much more fatigue than usual. She may find herself in need of multiple naps throughout the day, for instance. Again, end-of-life care makes it easier for your senior to have the help that she needs so that she can rest as much as she needs to rest.
Muscle Wasting and Weight Loss
It’s also possible that the effort your elderly family member’s body is expending in just being is also resulting in unexpected weight loss and even muscle wasting. This happens because her body is working overtime just to keep her heart pumping, her lungs functioning, and keeping all of the other processes working as well. That requires so much energy that your senior may not be able to keep up with the caloric intake required.
Coughing and Shortness of Breath
The heart does more than just circulate blood throughout the body. It also helps to move other fluids through the body and when your senior’s heart isn’t working well, fluid builds up and can lead to symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. As the heart failure worsens, the shortness of breath and coughing will worsen as well.
End-of-life care helps your aging family member to have the quality of life that she needs and wants as she enters the final stage of dealing with heart failure. Managing all of these symptoms is so much easier with experienced assistance.
If you are considering end-of-life care in Auburn, CA, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at PIC Comfort Care today. Call (530) 885-9948.
- Understanding Why It’s Important to Start Hospice Care as Early as Possible - May 26, 2023
- 6 Important Facts for Families about Hospice Elder Care - May 11, 2023
- What to Consider When Choosing Hospice Elder Care - April 6, 2023