How can I support my loved one?
Someone close to you has just had a heart attack, stroke or heart treatment. To help you handle your feelings, it’s good to be aware of them and to share them with people you trust. Talk with members of your family, friends, clergy and healthcare professionals.
You and your loved one may also benefit from your local Mended Hearts or stroke club — support groups for heart and stroke patients and their families. A heart attack, stroke or heart operation affects the whole family — not just the patient. Ask your healthcare professional for ways you can get help with the problems it may cause.
How will I feel?
What will change?
- Guilty. Try thinking about making healthy changes instead of worrying about the past.
- Afraid your loved one is dying. Talk to the person about your fears. Even though it’s hard, it’s also wise to make sure your finances, wills and insurance are in order so you all feel more prepared for the future.
- Overwhelmed. Ask for help! Many friends and relatives will be happy to help out with meals, rides and childcare.
- Depressed. It’s common to feel sad and edgy at a time like this. You may have trouble sleeping, have less energy and feel ill. These feelings should go away as things get better.
- You’ll have less time to yourself. Try to take time every day to do the things you enjoy. Take care of yourself. If you work, going back to your job will help distract you.
- Your sex life may change. Talk about your feelings with your spouse and the doctor.
It’s best to resume sexual activities slowly and stay close with your spouse as he or she recovers.
How can I help?
- Ask questions at the hospital.
- Discuss things with your spouse and children.
- Praise your spouse for new good habits, and try not to nag.
- Take a CPR class.
- Learn the warning signs of heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest and stroke.
- Help your spouse manage his or her medicine and treatment.
How can we be healthy?
- Read about healthy lifestyles and follow the doctor’s advice.
- Use low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol foods that your spouse will like.
- Make changes slowly, one step at a time.
- Try exercising with your spouse.
- Help your spouse stop smoking, and if you smoke, quit.
- Suggest active outings for the family.