Conserving Energy

People with congestive heart failure (CHF) often tire easily, especially if they exert themselves. In CHF, the heart is swollen with fluids and cannot beat efficiently. The body’s cells then become hungry for oxygen. If your loved one has CHF, you witness this in his or her fatigue, shortness of breath, and frequent naps.

Even with CHF, however, your relative needs to be physically
active. Physical activity helps the heart muscle gain strength. It improves
circulation. It helps with weight control, and, oddly, with reducing fatigue.
Exercise also helps with depression, which is common in CHF.

Pacing is the key
Talk with the doctor about optimal forms of physical activity. Initially, walking, swimming, or biking may be recommended. As CHF progresses, simple tasks, such as taking a shower or cooking a meal, may qualify as exercise. Ask the doctor for a prescription to work with a cardiac rehab team to create an activity plan tailored to your loved one’s needs.

Conserving energy
Think of personal energy as a tank of gas. With CHF, your relative has a small tank and needs to be “fuel efficient.” Conserving energy when doing chores leaves more “in the tank” for doing things that bring joy and meaning.

  • Alternate periods of
    activity with periods of rest. Divide large chores into smaller tasks
    throughout the day or across the week.
  • Avoid rushing. It wastes
  • Work smarter. Minimize
    trips up or down stairs. Cook large quantities of food and freeze for heating
    later. Instead of towel drying, slip on a terry cloth bathrobe after bathing.
  • Get help for mundane tasks.
    Have groceries and prescriptions delivered.
  • Create workstations that
    permit cooking, grooming, dressing, bathing while seated.
  • Use a cart or walker with a
    basket for carrying things from place to place.
  • Avoid bending or reaching.
    Use extenders.

Looking for ways to ease fatigue?
Give us a call at 301-593-5285. As the Metro DC experts in aging well, we at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates understand that quality of life is based on how much time your loved one can spend doing things he or she truly enjoys. Let us help you identify ways to conserve on chores so your relative can go full throttle on pleasant activities.