After a Heart Attack: 5 Essential Senior Care Tips
If an elderly member of your family has recently had a heart attack, we understand well the stress and worry that comes with helping them recover. Modern medicine has made great strides in helping seniors recover fully from heart attacks, but adhering to the strict aftercare process is absolutely essential in making that happen. The main goal, after a first heart attack is to prevent a second one while improving quality of life overall. Be sure to follow these 5 tips for senior care after a heart attack so your loved one can fully recover:
1. Follow All of the Doctor’s Orders
As your loved one recovers from a heart attack, following his or her doctor’s orders is absolutely crucial. The doctor will likely prescribe a list of medications and probably have your senior family member participate in some cardiac recovery appointments. Please attend these appointments with your loved one, ask as many questions as you need to and be sure to take notes so that you can do exactly what the doctor orders. This will give your loved one the best chance at a full recovery from a heart attack.
2. Make Home Life Easy and Relaxing
For the first few weeks after a heart attack, just going to the bathroom, bathing and dressing will require assistance. For several weeks after that, your loved one will still need to take it easy and not become over-exerted. They will need help with all activities including housework, cooking, laundry, yard work, and any other physically strenuous activities they were used to doing before the heart attack. Be sure to arrange for trusted help to attend to these chores so that your loved one can rest and fully recover while gradually taking on more activity as the doctor allows.
3. Encourage Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Regardless of what led to the heart attack, the doctor will likely insist upon some important lifestyle changes for your loved one. Changes in nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, weight loss, etc. can be difficult to make after lifetime habits have become ingrained, but a heart attack usually provides a significant amount of incentive. It’s very important that you support these changes and assist your loved one by:
- Helping with grocery shopping, meal prep and planning.
- Helping them follow their doctor’s exercise recommendations—participate with them and you’ll feel better too.
- If smoking is an issue, help them attend smoking cessation groups and support them as they quit.
- Be positive and upbeat, encouraging them when changes seem difficult.
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4. Be Extra Vigilant about Heart Attack Symptoms
Know the symptoms of a heart attack and be absolutely vigilant about watching for any possible signs of a second attack with your loved one. After the first heart attack, they run a higher risk for a second one, so catching signs quickly and getting immediate medical attention is critical to saving his or her life. If at all possible, try to have someone with your loved one around the clock so symptoms don’t go unnoticed, and do not hesitate to call 911 immediately if any symptom presents itself.
5. Ask for Outside Help
Helping a loved one recover from a heart attack and preventing a second one can be overwhelming, even if you have a large family or friends close by to help. If the strain is too much and you feel your loved one needs extra senior care after a heart attack, strongly consider arranging for professional in-home nursing care to assist when you can’t be there. At Home Personal Care with 3 convenient locations - Manassas, Warrenton, and Fredericksburg, VA - has senior care professionals who understand what it takes to help seniors recover from heart attacks and enjoy a heart-healthy, high-quality of life.
Contact At Home Personal Care at (703) 330-2323 today to ask questions and learn more about this important aspect of senior care after a heart attack.
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