Chapter 4 Information for Caregivers Encouraging Healthy Changes As a caregiver, you can help your loved one or patient make healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle. Change occurs when people are ready to embrace it, but rarely happens overnight. We are all prone to false starts and setbacks. Change doesn’t always feel great but the benefits are seen in the long run. Encourage healthy change by being physically active, following the doctor’s instructions and choosing hearthealthy 12 foods to eat. Caregiver: Take Time to Care for Yourself Caregivers play a key role in helping people with heart disease manage their condition. If you’re a caregiver, you know how rewarding the job can be. You also know that it can take a toll emotionally and physically. So take good care of yourself, too. Here’s how. Find ways to relieve stress. To relax in a hurry, take several deep, slow, calming breaths. When you have more time, try meditating, listening to music, or writing in a journal. Reach out for help. Enlist the help of family, friends, and neighbors. Volunteer groups or social service agencies may offer help with patient care or household chores. Caregiver support groups are another source of support and advice. Communicate concerns. Don’t hide depressed, anxious, or guilty feelings. Talk with the person you care for and other family and friends. Often, just airing your concerns to a sympathetic ear helps. Consider professional counseling if you experience more severe distress. Set aside time for yourself. Exercise, visit friends, pursue a hobby, or join a club. You’re not being selfish. Your loved one will benefit as much as you do when you take time to refresh and rejuvenate. P1052 Caregiver tips.indd 1 7/31/15 12:05 PM Caregiver: Take Time to Care for Yourself Download/print PDF Your loved one may need assistance in keeping track of the medicines they need to take. Help them to stay on schedule and make sure they don’t run out of the medications they need. Consider using a pill dispenser or making a medication chart to help stay organized. You can also help by accompanying them to doctor’s appointments (driving is restricted with certain medical conditions) and taking notes on what the doctor advises. There may be questions you want to ask on behalf of your loved one, and you can help them understand what the doctor says about their recovery and treatment. Signs and Symptoms to Watch For As your loved one recovers, he or she may experience side effects from surgery, medications, or their medical condition. Some of these are normal and go away as healing takes place. It’s sometimes difficult to know exactly what the issue is caused by. If an unusual symptom or disturbing trend develops, it’s best to document it (in writing) and report it to the doctor for advice. Include when you first noticed the symptom, how often it occurs, what it’s associated with, and what seems to make it better.
P1052 ABC Transitions in Care
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