How you can help someone with a heart condition
When someone you love has a heart condition, it can be difficult to know how you can help them or what support you can give, especially if it’s your first time in a carer’s role. The help they’ll need will depend on what their symptoms are or what is preventing them from living their lives to the best of their ability. It may mean some changes in how they go about their daily routine, so it’s worth talking through with them what they struggle with to find the best ways to help.
We’ve put together some tips and ideas for daily living aids to try that maybe be able to help them go about their day with greater ease and maintain their independence.
Struggling to remember to take their medication?
Someone with a heart condition may have to take various medications, possibly even at very specific times of the day. If this is the case for your loved one, a device like the Daily Pill Reminder and Timer could make like that little bit easier for them as it flashes and beeps when it’s time to take their tablets. This makes it less likely that they’ll forget to take their medication or take it later than they should.
At risk of fainting?
If they’re prone to fainting, it can be a concern as to whether or not anyone will know when they need help. This is especially true if they struggle to get up after a fall or injure themselves. A fall alarm might be enough to give you both peace of mind if they do faint and can’t get up again once they come round.
With the Family & Friends Auto Dialling Emergency Alarm, they carry a pendant around with them that, if they fall, they can press the button and it dials one of three pre-programmed numbers to get help.
For reassurance outside the home, the SOS Button could be a good option. It comes with a three-month, 150-minute, roaming SIM bundle so it can be used anywhere there’s mobile signal. When the button is pushed, it will dial one of the three pre-programmed numbers until someone answers, making sure they get the help they need.
Suffering with general fatigue?
Those with heart problems may find that they tire more easily, which isn’t ideal if there are things they want to be doing around the home. Depending on their needs there are things that may be able to help.
It can be tiring to stand up for long periods when preparing food or using the sink. A perching stool will give them a place to rest while they do what needs to be done, such as the washing up or chopping vegetables.
Perching stools are generally suitable for use in either the kitchen or bathroom, but this does vary from product to product. You can find the full range of perching stools here.
Being able to enjoy a shower is such a small thing that will make a difference to their overall sense of wellbeing, but if they’re tiring quickly or struggling to get in or out of the bath it may feel like an arduous task to get over and done with.
A shower seat could be enough to help make it easier for them to clean themselves. It gives them a place to rest while they wash so they don’t have to worry about getting too tired to continue as they can just pause a moment until they’re ready to continue.
If their shower is over the bath, then a bath board might be a better option. These fit on top of the bath to provide a stable seat for them to rest on while they shower and can also make it a little easier for them to get in and out of the bath, too.
It’s not the easiest subject to talk about, but if they’re having trouble getting to the bathroom at night due to tiredness or difficulties in moving, then they may want to consider a commode. This will make it a little easier for them to relieve themselves without having an accident or have the struggle of trying to hold their bladder for longer than is ideal.
There are commodes now that are more discreet, so that anyone who happens to see it wouldn’t immediately know it’s true purpose, like the Walton Height Adjustable Commode. When not in use it looks like an ordinary chair.
You can find the full range of commodes here.
A strategically placed grab rail can be enough to give them a little extra support as they go about their business. There are numerous sizes and styles, including some designed for use outside and others designed to be used in the bathroom.
The right mobility aid for their needs will depend on a myriad of factors, like their general level of fatigue, where they need help moving, if they need to take rest breaks etc. But there are a few options to consider:
- Walking stick
If they only need a little extra support, then a walking stick may be enough to help them get from A to B. They come in a variety of styles and patterns making it easier to find a design they like.
Shop walking sticks
- Walking frames
Walking frames are for those who need more support than a walking stick can offer and tend to be primarily used indoors. Baskets or caddies can be bought separately if they need to transport things around the home while using their walking frame.
Shop walking frames
These are usually used outside the home, such as when they go to the shops or out for a walk. They offer more stability than a walking stick and some come with a seat so they can take a rest should they need to. There are also styles that come with a bag or basket where they can stow their shopping, too, so it’s important to consider exactly what it’ll be used for to get the best one for their needs.
Where to turn for support
It can be daunting when someone you love has complex medical needs, especially if you’re facing a role as an unpaid carer for the first time, but you’re not alone.
In the first instance, if you have any medical concerns, always speak with your doctor for help and advice.
The Carer’s Trust looks out for unpaid carers and has helpful information that may help if you’re unsure of what benefits or grants you may be entitled to as an unpaid carer. They may also be able to connect you with resources and support in your local area.
The British Heart Foundation is dedicated to heart health and has a wealth of resources and support for those with heart health issues.
If you have any questions or concerns about whether or not a product is right for your loved one’s needs, please contact our Product Advice Service on 0345 121 8111 or email [email protected].
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- April 2nd 2019