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Signs of Heart Failure in Seniors

Unlike a heart attack, heart failure often develops over time because of the heart’s inability to sufficiently pump blood throughout the body. According to the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 75 percent of hospitalizations for this cardiovascular condition involve people 65 and older, which is why heart-related problems like this should be on your radar if you’re caring for an older loved one. Below, you’ll find some of the common symptoms associated with heart failure in the elderly.

Shortness of Breath

Heart failure is sometimes referred to as congestive heart failure because of the buildup of fluid in the lungs that often occurs. This fluid accumulation can interfere with the process of oxygen getting into the blood, which can result in shortness of breath, especially when your loved one is physically active.

Recurring Coughing/Wheezing Episodes

The accumulation of fluid that’s common with heart failure sometimes contributes to fits of coughing or chronic wheezing. Such actions are an attempt by the body to clear this fluid.


If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Unexplained Fatigue

It’s not unusual for older adults to tire out more easily. But a heart that’s no longer doing its job can create a constant state of fatigue that’s out of the ordinary.

Confusion or Disorientation

Disruptions in blood flow because of heart failure can reduce the circulation of blood in the brain. This is a symptom you may misinterpret if you see it in your loved one, since confusion tends to be more commonly associated with cognitive impairment.


Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Boca Raton seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Swelling in Feet and/or Ankles

Your loved one may notice his or her shoes are feeling tighter if he or she has heart failure. According to the American Heart Association, this can happen when blood returning to the heart backs up in veins in the feet and causes swelling (edema), which may extend to various parts of legs.

Elevated Heart Rate

When the heart isn’t functioning as intended, your loved one may experience an increased heart rate. A related symptom is heart palpitations, which can be described as feeling as if the heart is throbbing or racing.

Unexplained Weight Gain

Fluid accumulation may also contribute to weight gain, which is more likely to be a sign of heart failure if there’s no clear reason why your loved one is putting on extra weight. Heart failure is sometimes associated with a loss of appetite as well.

Other Symptoms to Look Out For

It’s often a combination of the above symptoms that suggests an older adult is experiencing heart failure. Even if it turns out not to be heart failure, finding out what’s causing any symptoms like the ones discussed here can provide much-appreciated peace of mind along with an added incentive for your loved one to be mindful of his or her cardiovascular health. Some other symptoms related to heart failure to look out for include:

• Nausea
• An increased need to urinate at night
• Lightheadedness
• An inability to exercise or remain physically active without getting winded or too tired
• Chest pain if heart failure is related to a heart attack

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elderly home care. Boca Raton Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (561) 826.9282 to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.