Your elderly father just had a heart attack and is recuperating in the hospital. You’ve been concerned for a while about some of his unhealthy habits. He eats a lot of fast food, thinks exercise is for “young people”, and gets stressed out whenever bill-paying time rolls around. In fact, you and your siblings are holding a strategy session before dad gets home to discuss his care and how to keep him healthier. Helping a senior loved one recover after a heart attack should go more smoothly when taking these steps.
Preparing for Dad’s Return
After dad comes home, he will still feel tired and weak for a while. In addition, the Mayo Clinic points out that nearly one-fourth of all heart attack patients feel angry and depressed while recovering. To ensure both your father’s physical and emotional wellbeing, you’ll need to assist him with activities of daily living and provide companionship until he’s fully recovered.
To make that happen, form a family caregiving team so there’s someone in dad’s home every day for at least the first few weeks. Based on each member’s availability and strengths, create a daily caregiving calendar that includes these responsibilities:
- Meals and grocery shopping
- Medication reminders
- Accompanying him to cardiac rehab and doctor’s appointments
- Housekeeping and yardwork
- Personal hygiene, when needed
At some point during those first few weeks, you’ll need to speak to dad about making some positive lifestyle changes. Gently remind him how much he’s loved, and that you all want to help him avoid another heart attack so he can continue living independently on his own. Once dad’s on board, it’s time to devise his new “heart-healthy” program.
Include these in Dad’s Heart-Healthy Program
Once a senior has a heart attack, they’re more likely to have a second one. Here are some proven ways to help keep your father’s heart healthier:
With his doctor’s approval, convince dad to participate in low-impact forms of exercise 3 to 5 times a week. Not only will doing so strengthen his cardiovascular system, it will also lower stress, help him lose weight and speed up healing. Also make sure dad stays hydrated throughout the day, especially when exercising.
Dad’s doctor will probably prescribe heart medications. Help him monitor drug compliance daily, and make sure that his prescriptions stay refilled.
Ask dad how you can help him reduce stress, whether it’s assisting him with bill paying or coordinating his medical insurance benefits. Regular exercise is also a great stress-reducer.
Stop Unhealthy Habits
Get your father to cut out fat-laden fast foods by supplying him with nutritious meals and snacks that are low in saturated fats and processed sugar. Smoking, being overweight or drinking alcohol to excess are also unhealthy habits that he needs to avoid.
If dad seems to be depressed or angry, provide him with emotional support by spending more time with him, like taking him to a ballgame or lunch. Visits from the grandkids are also good morale boosters for seniors, as are taking a class or learning a new hobby.
Take Care of Yourself
When caring for a senior after a heart attack, it’s easy to neglect your own health. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and spend quality time with your spouse and children. If you need a break and other family members aren’t available, consider hiring a professional caregiver from a licensed home care agency to fill in.
We Deliver the Right Care in the Right Place
If caring for a senior loved one is wearing you down, contact Caring Professionals. As a family owned and operated agency, our fully licensed and insured caregivers can step in and provide your senior with the compassionate in-home care they need so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. Our highly trained and carefully screened aides can perform services including homemaking, companionship, escorted transportation, meals, personal care assistance, medication reminders and respite care.
And, all our family trusted home care services can be conveniently combined within an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about Caring Professionals, of to schedule a FREE, in-home care consultation for a senior in your life, please call or visit us online today!