"A heart attack can be one of those things that as an adult child you think will never happen to your loved one. As a family caregiver, however, it is important to understand the risk of this type of urgent medical situation occurring in your elder care journey with your senior and to be prepared for how you are going to handle not just the attack as it is happening, but the care that you offer him after it occurs. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four deaths among American adults is caused by cardiovascular disease and more than 730,000 people each year suffer from a heart attack. Preparing yourself for the possibility that your aging parent might become one of those people to suffer such a situation in his life can help you to feel more confident about the care that you give him, and less afraid that you will not be able to help him through the attack and the recovery properly.
Use these tips to help you create an effective elder care plan for after your loved one suffers a heart attack:

•  Seek out help. After a heart attack many people need care 24 hours a day for a few weeks. You are not going to be able to handle this on your own. Even if your parent does not require this level of extensive, ongoing care, hiring a professional caregiver ensures that your parent can get the care, assistance, and support that he needs even if you are not able to be in the home with him at all times.

•  Work through your own emotions. Knowing that your senior loved one has suffered a heart attack can be an extremely upsetting and frightening experience. You might feel worried about him, guilty about your care choices, and concerned about making sure that he stays happy. This, however, can get in the way of you doing what is best for him in terms of his care. Make sure that you take the time to work through the emotions that you are suffering so that you can see the situation clearly and be prepared to make the difficult decisions and be firm with your parent about following care guidelines and doing what he needs to do.

•  Know the recommendations. When your parent is still in the hospital after his heart attack, start a notebook that contains all of the information that you get from the medical team. This should be where you record answers to all of your questions, every recommendation that the doctor gives, every guideline that the doctor gives, and all information about medications, diet restrictions, and treatments. Having this notebook will enable you to keep the information close at hand so that you can easily reference it, share the information with the care provider, or offer it to other caregivers or medical personnel as needed."

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