Role of a carer1
Caring for someone with heart failure can be both demanding and rewarding. Being a carer can mean different things at different times. You may be friend, a confidant, a nurse, and a personal assistant. It all depends on what your loved one’s needs are.
Your goal should be to empower your partner or loved one. Do not try to do everything for them yourself.
- Learn all you can about heart failure. The more you know, the more helpful you can be to the one you care for
- Give practical support. Help your loved one keep an eye on symptoms and take medicines on time. Go with your loved one on visits to the doctor. You can also help with errands and chores
- Give emotional support. Help your loved one try to stay positive and have a ‘can-do’ attitude. People who adapt to their illness and take control of it are happier and have a better quality of life
- Take care of yourself. There may be times when caring for someone with heart failure wears you out. It may impact your finances, work, or relationships. At times like these, go talk with someone else. A doctor, a member of the family, a friend, or a support group can help. Take a step back every now and then and live your own life
- Find out if you are entitled to any benefits as a carer. Look into time off from work or financial assistance, such as a carer’s allowance
Providing care from a distance
It isn’t always possible to live close to the person in your care. If distance separates you from your loved one, try these things:
- Have a routine for staying in touch. Find a time of day for regular phone calls or video chats
- Have a plan in place for problems. Make sure the person you care for knows exactly what to do if unexpected problems arise
- Know how to contact the doctor. Keep the name and contact details of your loved one’s doctor at hand
- Ask for help. If you’re worried, ask someone local, such as a neighbor, to check in
1: Heart Failure: Tips for Caregivers. Available at : http://www.emedicinehealth.com/heart_failure_tips_for_caregivers-health/article_em.htm. Accessed on 7th November 2016.