Friends and family can often provide much-needed support.
Managing heart failure isn't always easy. Physically, many people with heart failure often can't handle all the tasks they once could. They also have to change their lives — eating differently, remembering medications, paying closer attention to their bodies and reducing stress. These changes can be hard because they often require breaking long-held habits.
People with heart failure need loved ones and friends to support them in their efforts to improve their health. And the changes they are making are usually easier when loved ones provide much-needed support and care. If you live with or are close to someone who has heart failure, you're likely to have the greatest impact on their success by following instructions from the health care team.
As a caregiver or supporter, you can help by understanding that change takes time. Help your loved one follow their health care team’s advice. Participate during hospital and office visits and help your loved one keep track of information. You can also help by talking with the health care team and keeping them up to date on your loved one’s progress.
At the same time, it’s up to the person with heart failure to manage their condition. Be supportive, but don’t do everything for your loved one. Let them know that you’re willing to help, but don’t take over or make excuses for lack of progress.
Being a caregiver has its own challenges
Being a caregiver for someone with heart failure requires a long-term commitment of time and energy.
As a caregiver, you need a plan and you need support. You're not alone. Many support groups are online and in your community. Ask the health care professionals involved in the patient's care for contact numbers and help in giving care. And, most importantly, remember that you need to take care of yourself. With proper planning and support, caregiving can be very rewarding.
You can’t take good care of your loved one without first taking care of yourself. Your physical and mental health are important.
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