Owners' Blog

Caring for a Parent after a Heart Attack

By Greg and Hilary Eldridge

Senior Care in Sugar Hill GA

You and your parent are not alone in this experience that affects approximately 735,500 Americans every year. The good news is that your parent has been given a second chance, and there are definitely steps they can take to help prevent a second attack.


The major risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Additional factors include the presence of diabetes. Chances are also increased if you are overweight, have a poor diet, incorporate little to no physical exercise, or consume alcohol in excess. It’s apparent that lifestyle choices are a strong prediction for the health, or lack thereof, of your heart. Choice is the keyword. Helping your parent make better choices and incorporate key lifestyle changes into their routine can drastically reduce their chance of having another heart attack.

  • Diet: There are multitudes of heart healthy diets to choose from including the Mediterranean Diet. All of them have certain similarities in that they emphasize plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. Limit salt intake and substitute butter and hydrogenated oils with alternatives such as olive oil. Fish is the recommended meat, followed by chicken. Low-fat dairy is allowed in limited quantities.
  • Exercise: Your parent will need to gradually ease into a heart-healthy exercise routine. Enrolling in a cardiac rehabilitation program can be reassuring to both you and your parent, knowing they are taking the right steps at the right time. It is medically supervised and consists of an exercise program as well as counseling and education in stress reduction techniques.
  • Stop Smoking: Smoking thickens the blood—increasing the risk for both high blood pressure and blood clots. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease by two to four times that of non-smokers.

Signs of a Heart Attack

Being aware of the signs of an impending heart attack and getting prompt medical treatment significantly increases a good outcome. A majority of heart attacks exhibit mild preliminary symptoms such as a sense of pressure or pain in the chest, arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach. They may experience shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, or nausea.

Helping Your Parent Cope

Fear can grip a person’s psyche who has experienced a heart attack firsthand. Every mild chest pain can have them reaching for the phone and dialing 911. Help ease their fears by maintaining a positive
attitude and providing a calm, peaceful environment. Minimize conflict and stress. Get outside help once or twice a week to ensure that you are at your best and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Senior Care Provider

Senior care providers have cared for many seniors that are suffering from the effects of heart disease. Along with helping with the daily activities of living, they can remind your parent when it’s time to take their medications, prepare heart-healthy meals, get them to their various appointments, and offer companionship—an important contribution to a healthy heart.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Sugar Hill, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.