Caring for Someone Who’s Had a Heart Attack

4 Tips for a New Caregiver

Many people feel shocked and frightened when their loved one has a heart attack.  It typically happens suddenly, and it can be overwhelming to discover that someone close has suffered a heart attack and that you may not know how to care for them.

The American Heart Associate reports that every 40 seconds a person in the United States has a heart attack. Chances are that someone close to you may suffer an attack. It is critical to know the symptoms of a heart attack, but it is also essential to know what to do as the caregiver of a heart attack survivor.

Kendra Benisano, RN, BSN, Home Care Supervisor at Seniors At Home, says, “It is important to prepare for being a caregiver. It can be emotionally and physically challenging to care for a loved one who has suffered a heart attack.” Kendra shares these tips for new caregivers.

  1. Understand the Situation

    Before your loved one is discharged from the hospital, make sure that you understand the diagnosis, what they will need, what you will have to do to help them, what lifestyle changes are needed, and what support is available to you. Talk to the doctor, cardiologist, or nurse, to find out as much as you can.

    Get information on how to help the person develop a healthy lifestyle, in order to reduce their risk of more heart problems.

  1. Communicate for Emotional Support

    Talk with the person about how they are feeling and how they think they are coping with life after a heart attack. Be flexible and aware of their needs. Some people may find it difficult to talk about what happened. Encourage them to accept the help offered in the hospital and later – from their doctor, support groups, counseling, and cardiac rehabilitation team.

  1. Don’t Neglect Yourself

    Your new role as a caregiver can be physically and mentally exhausting. Looking after yourself is just as important as caring for your loved one.

    Caring can quickly become your primary focus, and that may cause other parts of your life to be neglected. Caregivers often have their own needs and commitments—like children, work, and relationships.  It is critical to maintain a healthy balance.

  1. Get Assistance

    Encourage close family or friends to help share in the caregiving process so that the primary care does not fall solely on you. If that is not an option, there are professional alternatives available.

    Seniors At Home offers respite care in these situations. Having a trained in-home caregiver for a period can provide you the relief needed to maintain a balance while caring for your loved one. Whether it is just a few hours a day or full time care, everyone’s situation is different and one of our Care Managers can work out a plan for you.

To learn more about how Seniors At Home can support an older adult in your life, call 415.449.3700 or contact us online.