Being a full-time caregiver may be an unfamiliar role for you. Maybe
you never imagined yourself spending most of your time taking care of a loved
one. There are several things you can do to help provide the emotional support
Offer encouragement. Adopting the lifestyle
changes that doctors recommend for heart disease can be difficult. If your
loved one is having trouble or becoming frustrated, encourage him or her to
start slowly and build up to the overall goal gradually. You may also offer to
change your own lifestyle to encourage healthy behaviors.
help, but encourage your loved one to remain active. He or she should try to
stay as active as possible. As recovery progresses, moderate exercise and doing
simple tasks around the house can be safe. This can help your loved one feel
better both physically and mentally. If you are concerned about what activities
are safe, speak with the doctor who has been the most involved in your loved
Ask if you can participate in doctor visits. You can
offer support by sitting in on doctor visits and taking notes. This can help
your loved one remember important instructions and help him or her feel less
alone during the recovery experience.
Looking after yourself
Being a caregiver can be mentally and physically challenging. There
are things you can do to help make the situation more manageable for yourself.
Remember that you will only be an effective and loving caregiver if you are in
good physical and mental shape. Try to find ways to reduce the stress of caregiving.
Enlist help when you need it. If possible, don't
take on all the responsibilities yourself. You may be able to involve other
family members or a visiting nurse or even hire a food delivery or housekeeping
service to help with the shopping and cleaning.
Take time for
yourself. Being a caregiver can be stressful and time-consuming. To avoid
burnout and to continue to provide care and support, it is important to save
some time for activities that you enjoy.
Seek emotional support if
you need it. Being a caregiver to a loved one who is recovering from major
surgery can be emotionally difficult. If you are having trouble coping with
your feelings, you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking advice
and counseling from appropriate sources, such as other family members, trained
mental health professionals, or religious advisers.