After my dad had open heart surgery, our family went through a massive upheaval. I wish we could have had these resources available to us then. It was a difficult and trying time for all of us, to say the least.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, went the way it was supposed to. The strong man we knew and loved, who was our leader, rock and foundation, was suddenly weak, vulnerable and needed our help.
He was in crisis and as a result so were we.
Several years later and seemingly in the clear, he had a stroke that once again took the family by storm.
Taking care of someone under these circumstances provides its own unique challenges. It is important to take care of yourself during this time to avoid Caregiver Fatigue or Burn-out.
The American Heart Association can help and they have a ton of useful resources.
Are you taking care of someone with a heart condition, someone recovering from a stroke or heart attack?
The American Heart Association has provided wonderful resources for these types of caregivers and I have placed them below.
All of the following links are from the American Heart Association, under the Caregiver Tab:
This list of Caregiver Rights will help you re-focus some time and energy on caring for yourself and let you know that it’s not unusual to feel under-appreciated, frustrated, left out and even angry.
Physical activity is proven to improve both mental and physical health. It tackles anxiety, depression and anger. Read more about how you can rejuvenate yourself.
As a caregiver, you may think your first responsibility is to your loved one, but it’s really to yourself. To do the best, you must be in the best possible health yourself.
Maintaining good nutrition habits is tough for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for a caregiver. Often your loved one is on a special diet or has a particularly selective appetite, but your diet is also important.
As a caregiver, there are a lot of things you would like to control. However, you having a realistic outlook on what can and can’t be controlled is important.
When your communication is clear, assertive and constructive, you’re more likely to be heard and get the response you need. Get specific guidance on communicating with family, friends, healthcare professionals and more.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved one is to carve out time and space for yourself. This has to be a conscious action that you take every day.
These resources will help you better care for someone who has heart disease or who has had a heart attack, heart surgery or a stroke.