February 10, 2011

Caring for an elderly family member recuperating from a heart attack comes with a huge amount of stress for the family caregivers. It is so important to recognize that and take strides to show love to yourself as well. Continuum recommends the following de-stressers:

• Keep a positive attitude.
• Accept that there are events beyond one’s control.
• Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert feelings, opinions or beliefs in a positive way instead of becoming angry, defensive or passive.
• Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga or tai-chi for stress management.
• Exercise regularly. A body can fight stress better when it is fit.
• Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
• Learn to manage time more effectively.
• Set limits appropriately and say no to requests that would create excessive stress.
• Make time for hobbies and interests.
• Get enough rest and sleep. A body needs time to recover from stressful events.
• Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs or compulsive behaviors to reduce stress.
• Seek out social support. Spend time with loved ones.
• Seek treatment with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in stress management or biofeedback techniques to learn more healthy ways of dealing with the stress in life.
• Seek out respite care in the form of a professional home care agency to supplement family caregiving.

For more heart health resources and tips, please contact Continuum at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336.