How to support your loved one after a heart attack

December 30, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

You and your loved one made it through a heart attack and now they’re home.

While you’re probably relieved to have them home, you may wonder, “What’s next?”

You play an important role in your loved one’s recovery.

Beyond the basics of getting your partner to appointments, picking up prescriptions or providing healthy meals, there is a lot you can do to help support your loved one after a heart attack:

  1. Encourage cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehab is a key first step in recovery after a heart attack. Research suggests cardiac rehab lowers the risk of death and hospitalization for five years or longer after a cardiac event. Cardiac rehab includes supervised exercise, nutritional support and more, to help your loved one maintain a healthy lifestyle after a heart attack.

  2. Talk about how they are feeling. According to the American Heart Association many people feel a variety of emotions after a heart attack, such as anxiety or depression. Focus on listening rather than giving advice. A behavioral health therapist can provide support if needed.

  3. Ensure they take their medications. Certain medicines can help lower your loved one’s risk for another heart attack so it’s important that they take their medications as prescribed. If there are concerns or problems with any of the medications, consult with your loved one’s physician.

  4. Exercise together. It will help both of you relieve stress and boost your moods. Try to schedule some activity together each day, even if it is just a walk around the block.

  5. Manage stress. Consider stress relieving activities like meditation or breathing exercises.

  6. Celebrate victories. Change will take time, so be sure to celebrate the small wins along the way and encourage your loved one to continue to make healthy choices.

  7. Give them some space. It’s OK to spend some time apart and enjoy some quiet time alone.

  8. Connect with friends and family. If possible, plan video calls or socially distant outings with friends and family so your loved one doesn’t feel isolated.

  9. Find support groups in your area. An online networking option for patients is the American Heart Association Support Network.

  10. Take care of yourself, too. You are a critical component to your loved one’s recovery so you need to be in top health. Be sure to get enough rest, eat healthy and get regular exercise. Ask for help with routine tasks and, if needed, seek help from a counselor or therapist to discuss your feelings or concerns.

Your heart is in good hands when you choose us for cardiovascular care. Learn more about our high-quality heart care.

To schedule a cardiac rehab appointment at Edward Hospital, call 630-527-3388; at Elmhurst Hospital, call 331-221-6060.

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