12 Resources for Heart Disease Caregivers
If you’re a caregiver to someone with heart disease, these resources can help you provide better care to your loved one—and help you take better care of yourself.
Being a caregiver to someone with heart disease can be very rewarding. But it can also be quite challenging. There’s a lot to learn, and even more to do. Without practical assistance and emotional support, you could end up feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed. Fortunately, help is available—you just need to know where to look for it. Below are some heart disease caregiver resources at Cone Health, on the web and in our community that you may want to explore.
Finding Reliable Information
Educating yourself about your loved one’s heart condition is caregiving 101. “It helps you understand what your family member is going through,” says Kristi Webster, RN, a case manager who works with cardiac patients and families at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. “And it gives you a more realistic outlook on what to expect in the future.”
• The Online Health Knowledgebase. Here, you’ll find thousands of informative articles and interactive guides covering the breadth of health conditions, including heart and circulation problems and high blood pressure.
• The American Heart Association. This organization offers articles and tools related to heart disease, healthy living and being a heart disease caregiver. By connecting with your local chapter, you can also find events near you.
• Cone Health Medical Library. Located at Moses Cone Hospital, the library offers a quiet place to read about medical topics and provides computer access.
Seeking Support From Other Heart Disease Caregivers
Being a caregiver can be physically and emotionally demanding. It helps to know that there are other people dealing with the same challenges. “Caregivers who participate in support groups may feel less isolated and more empowered to continue in their roles,” says Jim Jones, PhD, RN, system-wide director of Care Management for Cone Health.
• The American Heart Association Support Network. Here, you can connect with other heart patient caregivers who are facing similar situations. It’s a chance to share experiences and give and receive emotional support.
• Mended Hearts. This is another organization that offers support and hope to people with heart disease, their caregivers and their families.
• The Family Caregiver Alliance. On this website, you’ll find information, tips and webinars—all geared specifically to caregivers.
• The Caregiver Action Network. This website offers valuable tips and videos and hosts a discussion forum for caregivers.
• HeartSisters—WomenHeart of Cone Health You’ll gain information, support, friendship and a sense of empowerment as you join together for speaker presentations, activities and conversation.
Locating Practical Assistance
Caregivers frequently play a big role in helping their loved ones deal with financial concerns and care-planning decisions. “Our social workers at Cone Health are excellent at explaining the various options,” Jones says. In addition, the resources below are often helpful.
• NC 2-1-1. You can search this extensive online directory or call 2-1-1 to locate social services in your area. This is your gateway to a variety of resources for financial assistance, respite care, senior housing, medical transportation and more.
• Next Step in Care. This website offers easy-to-use guides to working with health care providers when your loved one is facing a transition in care, such as coming home from the hospital or entering a rehab facility.
Taking Good Care of Yourself
When you’re busy focusing on another’s needs, it’s easy to neglect your own. “But to be the caregiver you want to be, you have to take care of your personal health and well-being,” Webster says. “Try to set aside time every day for exercise and relaxation, and make sure you’re getting good nutrition and adequate sleep.”
• Cone Health Wellness Resources. Here, you’ll find a broad array of helpful tips and tools. There are links to classes and events offered by Cone Health, as well as wellness articles and videos.
• The Congregational Nurse Program. This partnership between Cone Health and dozens of local faith communities is focused on enhancing wellness and promoting healthy lifestyles.