Community Blog

Why Is Recording Your Parent's Weight Important As They Live with Heart Failure?

By Vicki and Brian Day

If you are a family caregiver for one of the approximately five million people throughout the United States who are currently living with heart failure, one of the care and management recommendations you are likely to have received is to make sure that you weigh your parent regularly and record these weights. Understanding the importance of this process illustrates why you need to make this a consistent part of your care and how you can utilize this information effectively.

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is weakened to the point that it is no longer capable of pumping sufficient blood through the body. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including history of heart attack, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other factors. When the heart is incapable of pumping enough blood through the body, it is also not able to pump waste products out of the body. This can lead to a tremendous amount of fluid building up throughout the body, which can manifest itself as swelling period while this can occur in any place in the body, it is particularly common in the hands, feet, and limbs. This swelling can be uncomfortable and unsightly, but it can also be potentially dangerous for your elderly parents. Swelling indicates that there's too much fluid in the body, and that the heart is not pumping properly. This puts additional strain on the heart and can lead to further damage.

Weighing your aging parent daily is a way to monitor the amount of fluid that is in their body. Recording their weights allows you to detect any sudden increases that might indicate that their body is retaining too much fluid and could be in danger. It is generally recommended that you alert your parent's medical team if they experience an increase in weight of three pounds or more. If this happens, get in touch with their medical team as quickly as possible and share their weight records. The doctor may want to see your parent as this could be an indication that they need an adjustment to their care or treatment. For most effective record keeping, weigh at the same time and wearing the same type of clothing each day.

If you are concerned that your aging parent has needs and challenges that you are unable to meet effectively, your schedule or limitations have changed and altered your ability to give your senior the care that they need, or you simply feel that your parent could benefit from additional support, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them. An in-home senior care services provider can step in to fill care gaps and meet needs that you are uncomfortable or unable to manage yourself. This can not only ease your caregiver stress, but can also ease stress and anxiety for your aging parent. Through the personalized services of a care provider your parent can remain healthy, happy, safe, and comfortable, and pursue a more active and independent lifestyle as they age in place. This can support a better lifestyle and stronger relationship for your both of you.