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American Heart Month Series: A Caregiver’s Guide

By Jessica Deng

We’re halfway through American Heart Month! American Heart Month is recognized to encourage people to take steps towards better heart health. LifeWorx is in the business of providing the finest caregivers to those who need help around the home and we understand that being a caregiver for someone with an underlying condition requires a commitment of time and energy.While being a caregiver for a client with heart disease can be very rewarding, it can also be quite challenging. If you’re a caregiver or family member to someone with a heart condition, this article may help you provide better care to your loved one while also taking better care of yourself. Read on for helpful tips on how to care for somebody that’s currently living with heart disease:

  • Understanding the condition
    Almost any type of cardiovascular disease can eventually cause heart failure. Basic information about the most common heart diseases can be found in our previous article. It’s helpful for caregivers to have an understanding of the underlying condition and any treatments that have been prescribed or administered.
  • Making lifestyle changes together
    Making healthier lifestyle choices is an important part of your overall health. For those living with a heart condition, these choices are even more important. If you are living or caring for someone suffering from heart disease, one of the best ways to help with the necessary lifestyle changes is to adopt those changes yourself and incorporate them into the daily routines for everyone in the household. These lifestyle changes may include diet, exercise, and not smoking.
  • Helping with medications
    People with heart disease are often prescribed medication to address the symptoms or underlying cause. It’s critical to keep track of medication and is especially helpful for the caregiver to have a good understanding of what each medication is for and what steps should be taken if a dose is missed for any reason.
  • Monitoring symptoms and knowing when to call for help
    Symptoms can vary and fluctuate over time and some days may be better than others for those with heart disease. It’s a good idea to monitor symptoms every day, logging their severity and any significant changes on a chart or in a diary. For the caregiver, it’s important to know when and where to call for help.

As a caregiver, it is also crucial that you take care of yourself. It’s difficult to be an effective caregiver without also addressing your own needs. Caregiving is not an easy job and is subject to high expectations. It’s time for a heart-to-heart about how to best take care of your well-being as a caregiver:

  • Set realistic goals
    Break large tasks into smaller steps that you can do one step at a time. Prioritize, make lists, and establish a daily routine.
  • Set personal health goals
    For example, set goals to establish a good sleep routine, find time to be physically active on most days of the week, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water.
  • Make time for yourself
    Self-care is essential for caregivers since your job is to spend most of your day caring about someone else’s needs. Find something that sparks joy in you and make time to enjoy it.
  • Join a support group
    A support group can provide validation and encouragement as well as problem-solving strategies for difficult situations. A support group can also be a good place to create meaningful friendships.
  • Get connected
    Find out about caregiving resources in your community or connect with one of our candidate relations managers at LifeWorx to gain a better understanding of resources that may be available to you.

Providing care to a client with health challenges can be challenging but it can also be tremendously gratifying—especially when caregivers realize the significant difference they can make in a person’s life!

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