As a caregiver, it is important that you take time to look after yourself. You need to get proper nutrition and rest both during the hospital period and after. The additional stress of supporting your loved one through a cardiac event can make you even more tired and possibly more at risk for catching a cold, etc.
Having a heart attack or being diagnosed with heart disease or condition can have a big impact on family members and caregivers. As a caregiver, you may feel frightened, angry, or even guilty. It is important not to let these feelings build and to get appropriate help and support.
Sometimes family members feel that they have to be with their loved one at all times when they are in hospital. However, this could be the best time for you to get rested and prepare for your family member to return home. Talk to the medical staff looking after your loved one about this, and, should you decide to rest at home, please be assured that the attending doctor or nurse will contact you should there be any change in their condition.
Having heart disease does mean making some lifestyle changes to prevent reoccurrence, but these changes can be positive for the whole family. In many cases, our patients and families lead more active and healthy lives!
The following articles provide additional information that may be helpful to you as a caregiver:
- Caring for the Caregivers: Tips for Caregivers
- Caring for the Caregivers: The Role of Occupational Therapy
- Caring for the Caregivers: Recognizing the Challenges
Additional caregiver resources can be found here: Caregiver Guide
The Ontario Caregiver Organization offers a 24/7 information and support helpline as well as a website to support Ontario’s 3.3 million caregivers.