Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a condition characterized by an abnormal heartbeat originating in the upper chambers of the heart (atria). Afib greatly increases the risk of stroke in seniors—as much as five times higher than people without Afib. This is one of the reasons all caregivers need to be able to recognize possible symptoms of Afib. Early detection can also ensure your senior loved one receives treatment to correct or manage the condition.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with AFib or may be at risk for the condition, he or she may need assistance around the home. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Waterloo, Ontario, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.
Reconizing Symptoms of Afib in Seniors
Some seniors with undetected Afib may dismiss possible signs of the condition as nothing major, so it’s important for caregivers to be observant. Possible symptoms of Afib in seniors include:
- Increased heart rate – Caregivers should get into the habit of taking pulse rates on a regular basis, reporting any noticeable increase in heart rate.
- Dizziness – Feeling light-headed after a mild activity or while getting up is often indicative of an issue with blood pressure, which is affected by heart rate.
- Shortness of breath – While sometimes caused by simply being out of shape, difficulty catching breath during normal movement may be a sign the heart is working harder to pump blood.
Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Treating Afib in Seniors
Due to the increased risk of stroke associated with Afib, treatment often includes blood thinners to reduce stroke risk. Blood thinners may also increase the risk of hemorrhage. Consequently, steps should be taken to ensure anyone treating a senior after a fall—even one that appears minor—knows he or she is taking blood thinners. Additional Afib treatments specific to seniors include:
- Beta blockers
- Calcium channel blockers (calcium strengthens the heart’s contractions)
- Electrical cardioversion (electric current is used to reset the heart’s natural rhythm and is successful in 95 percent of people with Afib)
If Afib that hasn’t been detected or treated is causing heart failure, your loved one may exhibit unusual reactions to reduced blood flow, such as swollen legs or persistent wheezing, in addition to the symptoms listed above. Should such symptoms be observed, seek medical attention immediately.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional in-home care. Waterloo families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (519) 954-2111.