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Monday, February 13, 2017

Tips for Caring for Older Adults with Heart Disease

Caregivers are faced with the daunting challenge of providing direction, advice, encouragement and support for loved ones managing heart disease. Managing heart disease is a scary proposition for everyone involved because the risks are great. In addition, the tasks of learning to recognize symptoms, manage medications and make the necessary lifestyle changes can be downright overwhelming.  It's no wonder fear and anxiety often crop up making caring for someone with heart disease difficult.  

Being anxious is a normal response to heart disease or an acute episode like a heart attack. Reassure your loved one that making the recommended lifestyle changes and taking medications regularly and as prescribed will greatly increase the likelihood that he or she will be okay.  

Other tips to reduce stress and improve heart health include: 

1) Encourage exercise. Cardiovascular exercise can help improve circulation, regulate blood pressure, combat depression and control diabetes.

2) Consider relaxation techniques.  Practicing relaxation techniques has been found to reduce stress, boost the immune system and promote heart health.

3) Encourage your loved one to take ownership in their recovery process.  Research shows that patients who practice self care and self monitoring are more successful.  

4) Consider utilizing telehealth or home safety monitoring equipment.  Remote healthcare monitoring can aid in the diseases management process and provide peace of mind.  

5) Be sensitive to your loved one's lifestyle changes.  Do not smoke or eat high-fat foods in front of them.  

6) Seek professional help.  Talk to your doctor. 

Taking steps to avoid stress and promote health are beneficial across the board - for the caregiver, other family members and for the one with heart disease.