Taking Care of A Senior Loved One Before and After A Heart Attack
Exercising and eating healthy can help lower the chances of your senior loved one developing cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or what’s commonly referred to as a heart attack.
If your loved one does develop AMI, it’s imperative that you’re able to respond appropriately and swiftly.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Although there are some warning signs that indicate the onset of a heart attack, each person reacts to the initial symptoms of a heart attack differently.
If you’re unsure if your senior loved one is experiencing a heart attack, check to see if they exhibit the following signals:
Mild or harsh chest pain
Severe or mild pain may develop on the left side or center of the chest and last a few minutes. It feels like fullness, squeezing or pressure
Upper body discomfort
The chest isn’t the only area that may be affected. The upper part of the stomach, back, shoulders, neck, and jaw may hurt while having a heart attack
Shortness of breath
Regardless of being well-rested or in motion, shortness of breath may occur
They may suddenly feel tired
Nausea and dizziness
Sudden feelings of nausea or dizziness may occur
Although each person’s experience differs, it is important to remain calm and assertive when your senior loved one’s health seems to be indicating that something serious is about to take place.
How to Respond Properly to a Heart Attack
If it becomes apparent that your senior loved one is experiencing a heart attack, try to keep the following recommendations in mind to ensure that they can receive professional care as soon as possible.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to follow, offered by the Mayo Clinic:
Besides making sure that your senior loved one is not in a dangerous position, calling 911 or a local medical emergency number for help is the first thing you should do.
If for some reason a phone is not close by, don’t hesitate to ask one of your neighbors to call on your behalf or to drive your loved one to an emergency room.
Try To Create A Relaxing Environment
It may be chaotic, but working to keep everyone calm is crucial for the welfare of your loved one. Have them sit down to relax as best as he or she can.
Have Them Take an Aspirin
After you alert 911’s emergency responders to the situation, they may recommend that your loved one take an aspirin to help reduce their pain and to slow down their symptoms.
If your senior loved one is experiencing a heart attack and loses consciousness, don’t hesitate to perform CPR if you are certified.
If you are not certified, then try to focus on making your loved one comfortable while you wait for a medical specialist to arrive.
How to Support Your Senior Loved One After A Heart Attack
Here are a few ways to care for your loved one afterward:
Encourage exercise and physical activity
Your senior loved one will likely feel more weak or tired than usual, due to the amount of time spent in the hospital bed on top of the damaged heart muscle.
Encourage him or her to keep moving and going through daily routines, while still respecting the doctor’s orders. Continuing to take care of personal hygiene and walk throughout the day will give him or her strength to be able to take care of daily tasks again in the near future.
Promote a heart-healthy diet
By following a heart-healthy diet, your loved one can reduce his or her chance of experiencing another heart attack or a different heart-related chronic condition in the future.
Encourage him or her to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes as well as limit simple carbohydrates and sodium.
Support his or her emotional health
According to the Mayo Clinic, 25 percent of patients who have a heart attack report feelings of depression and anger while in recovery.
To support their emotional health, encourage your loved one to return to the things he or she enjoys doing. Have other family members and friends visit for regular social interaction.
Based on the severity of the heart attack, ask their doctor for other recommendations that can help your loved completely recover and return to their normal routine.
The Staff at Hearthstone Senior Living Keeps Your Loved One’s Health ‘In Mind’ At All Times
You can learn more about our approach to supporting a healthy lifestyle, tour our communities, or visit our onsite health center by scheduling a tour for Hearthstone of Beaverton and/or Hearthstone at Murrayhill.
We provide immediate access to a number of medical specialists and community staff members that are ready to help any time of the week, day and night.
Schedule a tour today by calling Hearthstone of Beaverton at 503-641-0911 or by visiting us at:
12520 SW Hart Road
Beaverton, OR 97008
You can also check out our facilities at Hearthstone at Murrayhill. You can schedule a tour or ask any initial questions you may have by calling 503-520-0911.
We are located at:
10880 SW Davies Rd
Beaverton, OR 97008
If you happen to be in the area please stop by!
Contact Our Communities
Hearthstone of Beaverton
Assisted Living | Short Stays/Respite Care
Hearthstone at Murrayhill
Independent Living | Assisted Living | Memory Care