Senior Care After A Heart Attack
Many new beginnings are welcome events. The one that starts after having a heart attack is filled with mixed emotions. Surviving the attack brings relief, gratitude, and hope. The steps of recovery generate fear, frustration, and depression, among other emotions.
The challenge of recovery after a heart attack can be especially difficult for seniors. There are many things to consider upon returning home to recuperate. Getting better is the goal and there are steps to follow that will ensure a good outcome.
Listen To The Professionals
A new lifestyle plan and often new medications are introduced upon discharge from the hospital. It is vital to have a good understanding of what’s ahead before heading home. Ask as many questions necessary in order to achieve success with the new instructions and do not hesitate to call for clarification upon returning home.
The advice you will receive is the best path to recovery and prevention for future complications. Each recommendation is supported by the American Heart Association. The amount of adjustments needed are unique to each person’s health situation. However, a healthy and active life after a heart attack is possible for everyone that makes the necessary changes.
New Lifestyle Plan
For seniors, a post-heart attack recovery plan will include enhancing an already healthy lifestyle or creating a whole new plan. Currently, there is no cure for coronary artery disease; however, making prevention a priority greatly reduces the risk of a second heart attack.
The most common changes that help are:
- Stop Smoking
- Follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet plan
- Monitor blood pressure
- Exercise (create a plan with your doctor)
- Control anxiety and stress
It’s highly likely for seniors that changes in diet have taken place prior to a heart attack. Adding the ingredients of a heart healthy diet is key to preventing further complications. Cutting out everything you once enjoyed is not necessary. Balancing your choices will help to achieve the best results in making healthy eating a habit.
The American Heart Association offers many tips and recipes to make sure you love what’s on your plate. Your discharge information most likely includes diet and nutrition information. Some of the general strategies to keep your new diet on course include:
- Add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes
- Choose fat calories wisely; avoid artificial trans fats as much as possible
- Add a variety of protein-rich foods to your plate; this includes lean meat and fish
- Limit cholesterol found in red meat and high-fat dairy products
- Add the good carbs; such as brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and quinoa
- Maintain a regular eating schedule
- Cut back on salt; use more herbs and spices
- Stay hydrated
It’s important to coordinate an exercise plan with your doctor that may include a prescription for cardiac rehabilitation. A blend of home exercise and cardiac rehabilitation helps speed recovery.
The early stages of recovery will encourage you to take things slow. Your body will tire easy making simple chores seem like an Olympic event. Concentrate on pacing yourself while including a walk every day as prescribed.
Many factors will determine your exercise plan. The following general guidelines will help you establish a habit of daily exercise that will benefit your overall health:
- Increase walking pace in accordance with your breathing (you should always be at a pace that you are able to talk with someone). Slow down if you feel out of breath.
- Chose activities you enjoy.
- Ask your doctor before lifting weights.
- Make exercise a daily habit for the best benefits.
Exercise is a great confidence builder during your recovery. A bit of fear and anxiety is common at the onset but every goal reached adds more strength and brings you closer to success.
New medicines have been added to your daily routine. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your new medications and how they work with any of your current medications upon discharge.
The basic medications prescribed after a heart attack will prevent future blood clots, improve your heart’s performance and recovery, and lower your cholesterol. Other medications may be prescribed depending upon health circumstances.
As mentioned earlier, a heart attack brings forth a variety of emotions. It is natural to be angry, afraid, and depressed after experiencing a traumatic event to your health. Frustration can set in as the healing process takes longer than expected. These emotions will challenge your progress to good health.
It is important to your recovery plan to pay attention to your emotions. A positive attitude will benefit the other required lifestyle changes. Incorporating social activities to your daily routine will help fight negative emotions.
Be patient and talk to your loved ones and care professionals about your emotional changes. It will take time to feel like your normal self and communication is crucial to getting there.
Ask For Help
Recuperating at home after a heart attack will require help. There’s many elements to a successful recovery plan and a helping hand from a loved one or a professional will speed up the path to full recovery.
Family and friends can make a schedule to visit and help with daily tasks. It is also beneficial to consider a professional care service. Depending on the level of care needed, in-home care providers are capable to attend to each area.
A coordinated care plan will greatly reduce risk factors and speed the healing process. Friends and family can concentrate on your emotional well-being that will strengthen your confidence and remind you that life will be fun again. An in-home care service will manage the new lifestyle plan helping you to increase your independence as these new habits set in to your daily routine.
New Beginnings Lead To New Adventures
There will be a day when life after your heart attack is no longer about recuperation. All the healthy steps you’ve added to your life have now become your new normal. Staying committed to your new lifestyle and keeping regular heart checkup appointments with your doctor will greatly reduce your risk for another heart attack. The new vigor that comes from good health will lead you to many new adventures.